Blog

Sannan Hautajaiset Sanna’s Funeral

Sannan hautajaiset pidetään ruskeasannan hautausmaan kappelissa perjantaina 16.6. klo 08:45. Osoite: Ruskeasannantie 5, 01390 Vantaa. Kaikki ovat tervetulleita.

Mikäli haluat osallistua muistotilaisuuteen joka pidetään hautaan siunaamisen jälkeen, pyydämme ilmoittamaan osallistumisesi 13.6. mennessä.

Puhelimitse: +358 44 0512200, tai sähköpostitse: tuula.nikunen@mertaoja.com

Sanna’s funeral will be held this Friday, June 16th and all are welcome to attend.

Ruskeasanta Cemetery Chapel at 8:45am

Memorial service to follow. RSVP by June 13th if you will be attending the memorial service.

Phone: +358 44 0512200, or email tuula.nikunen@mertaoja.com

Sanna’s Memorial Service

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share that Sanna passed away peacefully yesterday morning at home. Our family has received so much love, prayers and support over the past 9 months and I want to thank everyone for their generosity.

We are holding a memorial service for Sanna Friday, June 2nd at Be Free Community Church, 118 Church St, Barrington NH 03825 at 4pm until 5:30pm. All are invited to join and celebrate her life with us.

– Carl Manders

One day at a time

It is hardest to update my blog when things aren’t going so well. When I wake up every morning in overwhelming nausea, as I struggle with the g-tube probing out of my abdomen, as I spend my evening preparing the intravenous feedings etc. Those are the days when I also struggle in keeping my faith in healing, in trusting the promise that this is not it, but that there is a tomorrow and I am apart of it. When I write to you, I want to write about the great strides I am taking forward, how things are better than anyone expected and how I am breaking the statistics. I want to have triumphs and victories, but life is full of ups as well as downs, so I will also write about the falls, the dissapointments and the pains.

This past month I have been in and out of the hospitals quite a few times. I have had two endoscopies, new biopsies, several scans, they have added the feeding tubes and the venting tube from my belly. I have also begun to struggle with nearly constant nausea and fluid build up in my abdomen. Once they have had to put in a catheter to remove the fluids, over 3 liters of it. I also have a pain pump that I use to administer opium pain medicine. So much has changed since January. 

Good things have happened also. I have started immunotherapy! So far I have had two doses of it and I am excited. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America they have had good success with this treatment. I have also started to gain weight again, and a few times have had my appetite peak its little head up. There are also some alternative treatment therapies that I am looking into and will let you know more of those as we decide which ones to go forward with. Unfortunately I have had to drop all my dietary regiments, as well as most of my supplements, as I am now on a full liquid diet I cannot digest them anymore. 

We tread on one day at a time and we will not give up. Jesus has already won this battle on the cross! 

Cancer Treatment Centers of Americas

I came to Cancer Treatment Centers in Philadelphia just over a week ago on Sunday. I was here seeking for a second opinion and also wanted to see what treatment options they could offer me. On Tuesday I was in so much pain and discomfort that they admitted me in to the hospital. I had a partial obstruction of the bowel and was starting to vomit bile matter from my stomach. I went to the or on Friday for them to take a look at the stomach, empty it from the bile, and take some biopsies that had previously returned failed. Yesterday I went into the or again and they installed a venting tube so that I can empty my stomach myself. I also had to get back on the feeding tube, and have been on it since Saturday.

Ill backtrack a little to give you a better idea of how I got to this point. In late December I had decided to go on a raw-vegan diet and followed the great example of Chrisbeatcancer.com, his protocol seemed like an excellent fit for me. I quickly blamed the location of the tumor for not being able to continue on this diet for very long. I began to have stomach cramps, struggled with all the gasses in my bowels and had increasing problems with retaining coffee enemas. My pain levels were going up and sleeping was becoming problematic. By the the time I got here I was in need of intervention. Now that I look back on the month and also after hearing the opinions of several doctors I have come to understand that the problem wasn’t the diet itself but rather the re-occurrence of the partially obstructed bowel.

As I lay in the hospital bed in Philly on my way to recovery, yet feeling like punctured Swiss cheese again, I look forward to a road of recovery and healing. I have spent a few days wallowing in selfpity and feelings of failure, but I am deciding not to let these feelings rule over me.

“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord”  Ps.118:17

God has not left my side but is holding my hand through this all and I can lean on Him as I need His strength to go forward.

 

The French Baquette

My relationship with food has really changed a lot in the past four months. I don’t really enjoy very many things I eat any more, but on the bright side I don’t hate the food either. I have started to eat everything raw and only vegetables, fruits, and berries, oh yes and a lot of supplements. So that means no animal protein either, so good bye to any meat products, including fish, and any dairy products. I was already almost vegan, but went for that last little push after the latest scans. In addition to the food and supplements my cancer protocol includes coffee enemas and lots of juicing. But the main part of my protocol is God, He is my Healer and my strength. He is the source of all life in me and in all of us. He is so good!

I have to say that I day dream a lot about food. I think once this ordeal is over, and it will be, the first thing I will do is bake myself a French Baquette. Once I take it out of the oven I will lather it with butter like no tomorrow, and cheese…. oh cheese… I am going to go all out and somehow get myself some Finnish cheese. The baquette won’t be quite perfect without some spinach, a thin layer of arugula and just so perfectly sliced tomatoes to top it off. Then a drizzle of olive oil and a few herbs, and voila! I can just about smell the fresh bread already. My sense of smell has in fact heightened ever more 🙂 Proof of just this is when Carl came from a trip and sat next to me in the car, it took me about 2 minutes and I could smell the meat. “You have eaten meat, I can smell it”. The face said it too, he had indeed had a chicken sandwich a few hours earlier. Amazing what a nose can do, I’m pretty sure with a little training I could join the TSA narcotics team 😉

I guess as I think about foods, I realize that I don’t miss the meats anymore, atleast if I don’t see them. As more and more time goes by there are less and less foods that I truly crave. My biggest weaknesses by far are carbohydrates, my pastas and breads, sugars, and the ever so lovely cheese. It is absolutely incredible how long it takes to get over the sugar cravings, there is a reason they say that it is harder to kick a sugar addiction than a drug addiction. And when I take an honest look at what my diet used to be like, I ate bucket loads of sugar every single day, not just in the form of candy, ice cream or little snacks here and there, but also in alcohol, bread, pastas, yogurts…. sugar is everywhere. 

Well life had changed for our family and a good indicator of that change is the contents of our refrigerator. I hadn’t even realized how it had changed until today as I opened the door and spinach flew into my arms. 

Silver Linings


Beautiful, fluffy and soft snow filled our yard, driveway and the streets of our little town. I absolutely love snow and the fresh crunchy sound it makes under my feet as a happily walk about outside. I love the way it lights up the yard on a full moon night and the way our children make their marks in it as they roll their snowmen, perfect their snow angels and dig their tunnels. And then the rain came, and it just kept on raining… most of the snow is now gone and replaced by lots and lots of ice. A little dissapointment, but the silver lining is that the kids LOVE the ice, they “ice skate” with their shoes all across the driveway and practice shooting pucks into the goal. 

There is a silver lining to every dark cloud in the horizon.

This week my husband and I went to the big hospital in Boston, sat down with the oncologist and heard the results for my pet and cat scans. I went into that room hopeful of complete healing, but to be completely honest, I was nervous of what the test results would show. I held my husbands hand, locked my eyes to his and calmed myself down, we are not in this alone, God is carrying us through this. The mysterious, most likely cyst, mass in my left ovary was gone. The colon was clean. There was a small mass of 0.4cm in my left lung, which the oncologist said is with all likelyhood nothing, apparently lungs often have tiny things in the scans. The peritoneum, which previously had appeared to be all clear, now had small nodules spread around. My stomach lining was exactly the same as it has been before, this was great news! I left the office feeling dissapointed. I had wanted clean scans and I wasn’t prepared for cancer growth. It took me a few hours of prayer, phone calls to loved ones and uplifting from my husband, too see that this was really a good scan. The oncologist had on several occasions wondered about the good results, their expectation had been for a lot worse. I am thankful that that was not the case. I believe that Jesus will heal me, that he already healed me on that cross 2000 years ago, I will never stop believing that! My dark stormy cloud was the growth in the peritoneum, but my silver lining is that the stomach lining is the same (I believe healed), the colon is healed, and the ovary is healed. Oh and I forgot all about the kidney…. The left kidney which was previously enlarged, is now completely healed and functions just as normally as the right one. Praise GOD!!! All of my bloodwork was perfect as well (although I do not know about my tumor markers)!

The best part of 2016 and the end of it, was my anniversary with Carl. We were married on the beaches of Fiji in 2003, just the two of us with a pastor we hadn’t met before. We had our backpacking bags waiting for us in the hotel, ready for our 3 week backpacking trip around the island. I love this man with all my heart, he has given me an adventure that I will be retelling our grandchildren when I am sitting in a rocking chair in my 90’s. 

Merry Christmas 2016


Christmas is approaching and we have plenary of white cover on the ground, this makes me immensely happy. 

Christmas for our family is different almost every year, not only because we have moved so often that we seldom spend two Christmas’s in the same place, but also because our families live on different continents. Another little twist is added by Carl’s work, he hardly ever gets Christmas off, so we celebrate Christmas on a different day nearly every year. Christmas 2016 in the Manders family will be celebrated tomorrow, the 23rd of December. After that Carl leaves for a three day stretch of work, it seemed more humane on the childrens account to have Christmas early rather than late (well, on my account too). This year will be different also in the respect of decorations and foods. I don’t think we have had the energy to decorate and get ready for Christmas as we usually have. The menu will also look rather different, much more simple and healthy, blah… 🙂 We will have salmon, salad, I’ll come up with a dessert, and I think I’ll load the kids up with chocolate… amongst a few small things that I can think of at the grocery store. 

Today is a wonderful day, it is the kids last day of school. We are a homeschooling family and this means that we ALL go on holiday! My amazing husband has been pulling the school wagon since September, with the incredible help of other families. It has been an adventure that I have just been watching from the sidelines. On one hand it has even been hard for me to give up the torch, allow and trust someone else to do the job, and on the other hand I haven’t had an option but have given it to God, and what an amazing job they have all done. Last fall was a tumultuous one, but when I look at the children I am in awe of how God has carried them through it all! In the month of December I started homeschooling more and plan to pick up on it fully in January.

When I look back on this year I am brought to my knees with respect and humility for God’s Grace. Last spring I prayed a prayer from my heart. I prayed that God would change me, that He would give a divine desire to do my job as a wife, a mother and a teacher to our children. I had been struggling with homeschooling, with the lack of desire to do it, I was exhausted from our latest move, and found it challenging to see my husband excel in and love the job he had. I felt that I had been left out of the loop of success, I had knowingly given up my chance. I was angry with myself and growing ever so bitter in my heart. Then in August the phone rang and the doctor told me I had a very serious cancer… I immediately, kid you not, remembered that prayer. A voice whispered in my ear: This is an answer to your prayer, you are being changed. From that instant on, the only thing I wanted from life was to live, with my family and be alongside them every day doing the work of God. I don’t believe that God gave me cancer, it is NOT His will for me to be ill. 

3 John 1:2

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

His will is for me to be in health!!! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our family and friends near and far, and to all of you who read this blog, who share in our joys and sorrows, who pray for my health and the future of our family!

Re-vamped December

Wheatgrass shots, smoothies, raw vegan foods and tons and tons of greens. Quite some time ago I took all meats away from my diet, well with the exception of salmon and tuna. I also eliminated all sugars and carbohydrates. In December I took a more radical turn and went all raw vegan. I believe in the power of the food God created for us, I believe in the research that show how your diet can boost your immune system. And honestly with the power of prayer, the change in my diet and added excercise have brought me to a position where I feel better than I remember feeling in years. It is hard to believe that only a few months ago I wasn’t able to eat or drink, I relied on the feedin tubes to give me my nutrition. Back then the doctors gave me only a few months to live and never expected me to be able to fully feed myself again. I have come so far from those day and I am so thankful to God for what He has done in my life. 

December was exciting, more visitors again. This time I had a friend visit from Utah. We went to the Boston Ballet and saw The Nutcracker and topped off with a Christmas Party with a group of ladies all from Finland! 

Our children are super excited, just as all children this time of year, abou the approaching Christmas. We are decorating the house and listening to festive music. I am so thankful for Christmas with my family!!!

Crazy Wonderful November

November begun with the fantastic ct-scan results, a great start for the month. A few weeks later I went to see the gynecologist for an evaluation of the cyst in my left ovary. She reviewed the scans and said that it is highly unlikely that the cyst would be anything more than just a cyst. Although everything so far has been in the realm of highly unlikely and has come to pass, I am still extremely hopeful that this particular unlikely will remain as such. In her opinion the stomach cancer will not spread only into one ovary but it would have spread into both, so doesn’t seem to be stomach cancer in the ovary. It is also very uncommon for someone my age to have ovarian cancer, I should be closer to 60 years in age. The third indicator towards this being a simple cyst is that the consistency seems to be mostly liquid. They will continue to follow up in March, if it has grown or remained the same they will remove it, otherwise i am in the clear 🙂

This has been a great month for our family, we have had lots of visitors from Finland. Both my younger brother Jukka and my older brother Mika came here separately with their families. So we had nearly three full weeks of wonderful family time. Thanksgiving we were able to spend with my brother Mika and his family, it was their first Thanksgiving and they prepared a feast for us! 

Emotionally this month has been all about healing. I started the month with a lot of fear in my heart. Cancer is such a strong word in our vocabularies, it carries emotions, feelings and painful memories for many. I grew up in a time when people didn’t survive cancer, I remember attending several funerals as a child and seeing the pain and fear in the faces of the mourners. Cancer was a death sentence. And I was given a death sentence. As hard as I have tried to look past the doctors words, they still cling to me like chewed up gum to the bottom of my shoe. During this past month I have been able to kick away that chewed up gum, clean up the sole of my shoe and start living life up to the fullest. I have transformed my eating habits as close to a raw diet as I can. I have looked into alternative treatments and started excercising to increase my oxygen levels. I feel that I have a say in my health again and I can make a difference in my healing. I feel healthier now than I have in years. I haven’t had coffee in months, and I relied on it for daily survival (like nearly every other mom), but now have more energy than ever in my adult life. I sleep like a baby and wake up with a mission… I will survive! I am in constant prayer and am seeking for God’s guidance in treatment options. Praise God for healing me to where I can eat and am not relying on tube feedings, but have full control of what I put in my body. He is so faithful and so loving, all glory to God!!! 


My brother Mika and his family with our family