Oliver’s Story

Site created on August 31, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. You can share this easy address to get to this page:  http://oliver.habichts.net/. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement left here. And please refrain from sending Oliver email, texting, or calling him at this time.  Amelia is committed to taking things a day at a time and may be delayed or non-responsive to any message she receives. Our more frequent updates are available at http://twitter.com/habichthealth

Summary and current status: Oliver was increasingly ill in August 2018 and late that month he went to his doctor. He was quickly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within a couple of days. Oliver subsequently completed 6 months of chemotherapy every-other-week in Ithaca, for a total of 12 sessions. About a month later he had almost daily radiation treatments in New York City for three weeks. Finally, Oliver had significant abdominal surgery performed June 17, 2019, in Milwaukee, a procedure which removed about 45% of his pancreas along with other components. As of July 11, 2019, he continues to get stronger as he recovers from surgery. We can now all hope he will remain cancer-free.

The story begins when Oliver had not felt well for more than a week, with fatigue and increasingly yellow skin and eyes, along with other symptoms but no pains.
On Monday, August  27, 2018, he arranged to see his doctor during work hours. Tests were conducted and imaging was ordered for the next day. He then biked back up the hill to finish out the workday.
Tuesday (8/28) was picture day: An abdominal ultrasound detected a mass pressing closed the common bile duct, followed by a CT scan later that day to better characterize the 3 cm (1.1 inches) mass in the head of the pancreas. Such growths are 95% cancerous.
Wednesday (8/29) was fix-the-blocked-bile-duct day (ERCP), in which a plastic stent enabled the bile to again flow, with an overnight stay at the hospital in case of blood clots and for general post-op monitoring.
On Thursday (8/30), Oliver was discharged in the morning in time to go home and then attend a working lunch. And he felt well enough to work for a few hours before going home.
Friday morning (8/31) was spent preparing for a long holiday weekend departure that afternoon to the Adirondacks with family and friends. We returned Monday late afternoon, after much fun and joy. 
By Wednesday (9/5) we received results from various clinical tests and it was confirmed the mass was indeed cancer. We knew at the time that the road ahead was going to be uncertain and rough. With that in mind, we thank you so very much for visiting this site to keep up with the rest of Oliver's story within this site's Journal entries and for repeatedly leaving your kind and generous messages of support.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Oliver Habicht

We received good news today by being informed that my CT scan from late last week was totally clear. There was nothing abnormal found using this high-quality imaging tool for our "every 4 months" look-see. Since this was our first such scan since the baseline one taken a month after the June 17th surgery, we are understandably delighted.

The scan is the "gold standard", but we also measured CA 19-9 levels that is often related to this cancer. That's a blood test we do every 2 months. We'll take that measure again in a month (a month early) to determine if its slightly elevated level from last week is of any concern. Absent that information, there is no reason for concern at this time.

I writing this sitting in the airport in Dulles, Washington DC on my way to Pompano Beach, Florida for some warmth, running, and to fit in some advanced flight training. Since my IFR rating training was interrupted more than a year ago due to this cancer, I'm eager to get back to flying and hopefully finish up this rating in the coming months. Not dealing with upstate NY's icing this next week and a half will stack things in my favor! I'll then meet up with Amelia next week, in Boston, for Thanksgiving with some of her family, along with visiting Heidi that Sunday.

Amelia and I will return together to Florida in January for me to compete in a 10K run during the Disney World Marathon Weekend. I'm being "sponsored" by Cigna, and they are generously flying us both down and putting us up for two nights in Disney World. My cancer story will provide them an inspiring example of overcoming significant odds thus far, so stay tuned!
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