Derek Haehnel | CaringBridge

Derek Haehnel

First post: 3/4/2017 Latest post: 4 hours ago
In the summer of 2014 I was diagnosed with a melanoma lesion on my scalp. Testing had shown that it was superficial and it was removed immediately. I continued routine skin checks with a dermatologist for the next couple years with nothing else showing on the surface. Late February 2017 as I was getting ready to go into work I suffered two seizures and was rushed to North Memorial Hospital. I was stabilized and hospital staff began the process of figuring out what the problem was. Scans showed that there was a mass on the back of my brain that caused the seizures and needed to be removed as quick as possible. A surgeon at North Memorial removed the mass within the next couple days. Prior to the surgery another scan of my brain was done and another smaller mass was found in my cerebellum which would not be able to be completely removed. Initial tests showed that the mass that was removed was melanoma and the likely source of the problem started with my scalp. My oncologist referred me to a treatment called gamma knife to radiate the spots in my brain and we are in the process of figuring out the best and quickest way in getting that treatment in. My oncologist also suggested for me to get a full body scan to see if the melanoma had gone anywhere else in my body. When the scan was complete it showed that the melanoma had spread to a lymphnod in my right chest, left shoulder, left hip and thigh. We are now working with my oncologist in sorting through what treatments are available and what the best options are. There seems to be a lot of good things and treatments going on in the melanoma world and I am ready to take this thing on and fight it until I come out ahead. I expect this to be a long road ahead and know I have a lot obstacles that will try to get in my way but I am confident in myself and my ability to overcome this situation. My support system is my biggest asset at this point. My wife is awesome and is helping me to coordinate all the things going on with this process. My family, friends, co-workers in the MN State Patrol and MN Department of Public Safety, and North Memorial Hospital staff have shown great support towards me and I will be forever grateful for that. I will add journal updates as frequent as I can, in the little time that we have been dealing with this there are a lot of hoops to jump through and phone calls to make in order to make this all possible, unfortunately this stuff does not happen over night and is a slow process so just bare with me.     

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