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. Her more frequent updates are available at http://twitter.com/habichthealth

Summary: Oliver has pancreatic cancer. As of 9/17/2018, Oliver has few, if any, symptoms.

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  27th, arranged to see his doctor during work hours. Tests conducted and imaging were 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 inch) 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 know the road ahead will be uncertain and rough, so thank you for visiting and keeping up with the rest of Oliver's story through this site. Significant updates will be listed within this site's Journal entries.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Oliver Habicht

With my family's support and guidance, I will shortly be starting with the fuller, "ablative" radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering, in New York City. I thus am not lined up for surgery at this point. My radiation will be every weekday (5 days on, 2 days off), for five weeks. I start this upcoming week (Tuesday, April 16th), with my last treatment scheduled for Monday, May 20th.
 
Since the effects of radiation are not immediate, we then wait 4 weeks before taking CT images to inform possible next steps. My radiation treatment is done concurrently with taking oral chemotherapy to hopefully prevent metastasis and which also magnifies the effects of radiation. The expectation is that I won't feel too sick for at least the first 3 weeks. Depending on how well I feel, I hope to return home to Ithaca each weekend.
 
In preparation for this treatment, last Thursday afternoon they replaced my (temporary) plastic bile duct stent originally put in to alleviate the symptoms which led to the "early" discovery of my tumor. This new stent is designed to be a longer-lasting, "removable" metal stent, but all stents occlude at some point so must be maintained over time. And along with that procedure, they also took a micro-needle biopsy of the tumor, for the first time. No surprises are expected. On Friday morning I was run through a "simulation" in which they collect information to prepare the technical aspects for my radiation. They do what they can to ensure I'll be in the same position each time I get radiation. As but one part of this process, they gave me seven tattoos around my abdomen, which are all as small as a pen dot. Each mark stung when made so I'm glad I didn't opt for a "Mom" tattoo. :-)
 
Last week, to help make our decision, Amelia, my father, and I first visited with doctors at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD), and then I received a third opinion at Weill Cornell (NYC). Along with the above preparations at the end of the week, I had almost no energy this past Saturday. A day of rest recovered my "normal" self, but I had no idea how taxing the trip and the medical mental gymnastics would be.
 
I really do appreciate the love and support you all send me my way, especially comments you leave here. Thank you!
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