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

Tomorrow, Monday, June 17th, is my big day during which I undergo major surgery to remove my pancreatic cancer tumor at the Froedtert Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), in Milwaukee. This involves removing many parts from my abdomen, and reattaching what is left, all of which one can find out more by searching for info on the "Whipple" surgery.

Amelia anticipates posting updates following the surgery on our associated quick-status webpage where I also occasionally post pictures of what I currently look like. 

I am currently accompanied in Milwaukee by my brother Chris. Since his Friday arrival, we enjoyed the large zoo yesterday and the Harley Davidson Museum today. We are staying at a wonderful, volunteer- and donation-driven "home away from home" called Kathy's House, located just a mile from the hospital. Amelia and my sister Heidi will arrive in the afternoon this Monday to stay a week, taking over for my brother. Then I'm hopefully out of the hospital in about a week and must stay nearby for another three weeks. At that time, my mother Pat stays with me a week, with friends and other family joining me the following two weeks. I've thus got great support and coverage for the anticipated month-plus that I'll be in Milwaukee.
I have not had much to report since the end of my radiation treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYC over a month ago, and that is a very good thing. My energy levels largely bounced back after the 3 weeks of radiation and oral chemo. I have been largely asymptomatic other than the persistent peripheral neuropathy on my fingertips and feet. The only noteworthy medical event was a visit to the CMC emergency room at 2 AM on Memorial Day for painful, acute abdominal pain. Turns out it was likely from small intestine blockage due to radiation scarring. (Such scarring progresses for over a month after radiation.) The pain came and went over several hours, with a couple of bouts of light nausea and just a little vomiting. The pain thankfully completely passed by mid-morning and I switched to a "low residual diet" for a week to reduce the chance of a repeat occurrence. I subsequently have been able to eat anything, up to now.
During my time in Ithaca, I did go on a short 8-mile bike ride as part of Amelia celebrating her 10 years as a stroke survivor. And I did lots of solo walking, starting with a 6-mile walk. Over a three weeks period, I got my mileage up to 13.25 miles for s single walk, including a couple of 12-milers and a 10-miler in one week. I only like being out in the sun and warmth so that has limited the days available for me to go out and so when it's been nice, I have tried to make the most of it.
Please write a omment below and I look forward to reading all of them when I emerge from surgery later this week. All your words of support and encouragement mean a tremendous amount to me! Thank you.
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