After a courageous 10 year fight battling Carcinoid Cancer, Sunny Carney, of Plum, passed peacefully on Saturday, November 3. She was married to her devoted husband, Mark; and was a loving mother to Austen, Logan and Nolan; daughter of Patricia Jennings and the late James J. Jennings; daughter-in-law of Dale and Dottie Carney; sister of Judy Phillips (Ray Jr.), Lynn Pesta (Teddy), Michael Jennings (Vicki Lynn), James Jennings (Sue), Joseph Jennings (Elizabeth), Sheila Fortes (Jim); sister-in-law of Craig Carney (Julia). She is also survived by numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, and was a true friend and inspiration to many.
In addition to being an inspiration to family and friends Sunny inspired carcinoid cancer patients across the globe through her blog, and then her book "The Sunny Side of Cancer. She spoke at numerous cancer events locally sharing stories of her journey which led her from Basel, Switzerland to all of the top Carcinoid Cancer specialists here in the states. She was an advocate for better diagnosis of the disease and for insurance coverage of treatments. She fought with grace and dignity, never letting the pain inside challenge her faith or diminish her love for life.
Memorials may be made to "Carney Family Fund", c/o S&T Bank, 2190 Hulton Road, Verona, PA 15147.
Friends received Monday 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday 3-8 p.m. at Unity Community Church, 215 Unity Center Road, Plum, PA 15239.
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Unity Community Church with Rev. Frank Deluce officiating. Arrangements entrusted to CHARLES W. TRENZ FUNERAL HOME, INC.
VIEW GUEST BOOK Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After over a decade of suffering from Carcinoid Cancer, Sunny Jennings Carney has decided to fight back. She has currently undergone two proven treatments in Basel, Switzerland and is planning to return for two more. She is also planning on going to Houston, Texas for a six month period to undergo experimental treatments that look promising but are not FDA approved. She has exhausted all the FDA approved treatments here in the United States and will not accept that this is all there is for her. She has dedicated her fight to help others understand this rare cancer and to find successful treatments in the United States. Her strong faith in God and will to never quit has turned a 6 month life expectancy to over two years presently.

Below is an entry that was written by Sunny's husband Mark when she had her third bout. To become updated on her journey please enjoy her posts.

Please check back for updates and event information.

Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund
C/o S & T Bank
2190 Hulton Road
Verona, PA 15147

Sunny's husband Mark tells their story...

A mother of three boys, a daughter, the baby sister to a large family, an aunt, a godmother to several, a trusted friend, an outreach volunteer, a business owner and my wife. Sunny Carney lives up to her name every time someone speaks to her; she is beautiful both in and out. She has been my biggest motivator, my rock and my inspiration in tough times, my biggest fan in good times, and most importantly my best friend. Told 14 years ago that having children may not be part of our future because of ovarian cancer, she kept the faith, and is a wonderful mother to our three sons- Austen, Logan, and Nolan. She is always ensuring that they know the Lord, love of life, kindness to others, hard work, and occasionally when to "shape up".

Her boundless energy, healthy lifestyle and positive attitude are infectious. She has served as president of our children’s PTA, organized committees that benefit those who are less fortunate in the community and led drives for those who have been caught up in unfortunate situations. She has done so much for others, usually without letting anyone ever know, I could not begin to list them. Her strong faith in God and modest upbringing has given her a sense of giving that only she can explain. When she successfully started her own photography business, she also started a non-profit division photographing family portraits for area families fighting cancer. Her friends say she is amazing and she simply shakes her head and wonders what all of the fuss is about.

Her mother, sisters, brothers and large extended family will tell you she is the one you can count on to lend an ear when needed and never judge. She was raised by her loving mother and father who was the warden of the Allegheny County Jail and actually spent most of her childhood in the residence connected to the jail. At a young age she witnessed more of life’s tragedies and obstacles through her neighbors, the prisoners, than most of us can imagine.

Although all of the aforementioned is remarkable it is not what makes her truly special. Sunny is a two time cancer survivor and now is currently fighting for a third time. After beating ovarian carcinoid cancer and undergoing serious surgery for carcinoid tumors in her right lung just three years ago, the carcinoid tumors returned in her lymph nodes, liver and bones. The size and proliferation throughout the liver of these tumors mandates immediate chemotherapy in four treatments over the next few months as well as monthly octreotide treatments. These painful treatments will hopefully stop the growth but are not a cure. There are numerous tumors in her spine, her skull, her hip, her leg, and her shoulder...all in the bones and she will wait on potential radiation to fight those.

What my wife has is Carcinoid Cancer Syndrome, an endocrine disease which is rare and spreads from organ to organ. As of right now the only known treatment for remission is administered by renowned clinics in Europe. However the treatment is not covered by our insurance. Our doctors have encouraged us to start raising money and matching grants could follow. Her lead oncologist strongly believes that Sunny would be a prime candidate to be a voice to get the message out regarding carcinoid cancer syndrome, bring this treatment to the United States and encourage approval from the FDA. Without this treatment, the tumors most likely will continue to metastasize in other organs and her fight will be ongoing. Sunny has set up The Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund to support her treatments. She believes that once she beats this cancer she can make a difference to others also suffering from Carcinoid Cancer.

Mark A. Carney

Sunny Carney Carcinoid Cancer Fund
C/o S & T Bank
2190 Hulton Road
Verona, PA 15147

Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching Up!!

I just thought I would take some time and catch everyone up on my treatments. Many of you have been asking and since I am going through so many different steps it is very confusing.

Let me begin with next week. I am schedule for a PET Scan next Tuesday. This is the very first scan I have had since my last treatment in Switzerland. This is the one we've been all waiting for to determine if the treatment has helped any. The rest of my moves (it's like a chess game) depends on what the outcome it of these test. The choices are as follows:

Good to worse
1. If the scan shows shrinkage then I will go back to Switzerland asap for another treatment.
2. If it's stable--no growth but no shrinkage--then I am schedule to see a new specialist on June 24th and hopefully I will find out about some other treatments.
3. If there is growth then I will look for other options else where.

I am schedule to meet with a specialist in Iowa on June 24th. I am praying that he takes me on as a patient. I am not sure what "tricks" he has up his sleeve but I know that he is the best of the best when it comes to Neuroendocrine Cancer. So keep me in your prayers.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Sweet Child!

As promised I am finally alone and ready to post my entry about my sweet baby. I re-posted the previous blogs about Austen and Logan below just to keep everyone up to speed. Nolan was my most difficult post. He is just as amazing as his brothers, but like them he is totally different too. I have started this post many times but when I would get deep into it it I just had to stop, it was just too emotional for me. I am not sure if it's because Nolan is my baby and I know that because of this cancer I will never have anymore children. Or it maybe because Nolan is the one child that feels the most and express his feelings. It maybe that he is the youngest of the three and would be more effected when the time will come. Or it could be because Nolan is my inspiration when I start to go to the dark side. Whatever the case, he is a true blessing to our family.

What can I say about my sweet child? Nolan was our happy surprise. Austen was a little over a year and Logan was about 4 months old when I found out I was pregnant with Nolan. My father had just passed away, Mark was traveling with job and working long hours, he just bought his dream car (red convertible, not sure of the make but back then I did not know much, but no room for three car seats) that he worked so hard for and I was going on about 2 hours a sleep a night because neither boys would sleep. I was in complete shock when the test said positive. After all I was told I was not every going to be able to have children and here I am in a little over a year with two babies and one on the way. I actual waited a few months before I told anyone because I was embarrassed that I had two small babies and another on the way. I remember yelling at Mark, "about not planning anything". Then Nolan was born and he was another boy. I had a horrified feeling about leaving the hospital and entering a life of diapers and bottles. I was scared to death to go home to three boys under 25 months. And as expected, I walked into a house and all three started to cry at once and Nolan never stopped (he had colic). I then blinked and a year went by and I can not recall any of it.

I am so ashamed of my thoughts back then. I did not trust that God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave us Nolan at the time he did. Nolan is our family peacemaker. He evens out the strong personalities we all have trapped between bricks and mooter. He is the first one up every morning (well after me because we all know I am up before the sun) and never comes out of his room without a smile on his face. He lives each day to the fullest and always sees the bright side of life. He hates conflict and will do what ever it takes to end an argument. I think some times he has more sense then even Mark and I because when we get in our little debates with each other Nolan reminds us how silly we are being.

He is such a kind soul and always puts others needs in front of his own. When I am under the weather Nolan is the first one to slide a hand made card or message under my bedroom door to cheer me up. He hates to see me in discomfort and will sit in bed with me for hours until I start to feel better. He loves to write me letters and reminds me not to give up. When asked by others how he is doing with mom being sick, he always shoots back a confident "she will get better soon". He does however get emotional at times when he thinks about what could happen. My trips to Switzerland were especially hard for him and he really missed both Mark and me. After the first trip I think it accrued him that this was not a vacation for mommy and he realized that it was very serious. So the next trip he spent weeks preparing a surprise for me. Each day he had something for Mark to give me and it had to be given in a special way. For example on St. Patrick's day I was in the hospital yet I received a beautiful card and a hand written poem about Ireland. My last day at the hotel I was given a CD he recorded with some songs he played for me on his guitar. I had a handmade gift everyday from him and I had to email him an answer to a question that he would ask me in a card or letter that went with the gift. I think that's how he guaranteed that Mark did not forget to give it to me.

Nolan is also very witty. He says the funniest and most whimsical things just at the perfect times. He could have all four of us in stitches for hours. None of it is in mean spirited though. We can all count on Nolan to bring us up at bad times. It's one of the things I love about him the most. He is a true joy to be around. This is just what we need in our journey through this horrible disease.

He is so kind and giving to others. I sometimes ask myself how a ten year old boy knows just what to do to help someone else? It's like he can actual feel the pain others are feeling. This gift of altruism amazes me every time he shows it. I only wish others in this world had half of what Nolan has in his heart for giving.

Although, like his brothers Nolan loves to play sports his true love is for music. He loves to jam (as he calls it) on his guitar and write songs. You will catch him many times throughout the day just humming along to life. His passion for music has actually inspired both his brothers to take up instruments and Nolan will lead the two in a jam session. I never have to bribe Nolan to practice. I don't know if that is because of his passion for music or because he is just a pleaser. He loves to please and rarely has to be asked twice to do something. One trait that makes being his mom easy.

Although the all mentioned may seem that Nolan is just plugging along with a cheery outlook of life and nothing can get him down, that is not always the case. He is the most optimist child I know but deep down I know he is scared to death. He tries hard not to let me see his worry but as a mother I can see that my cancer has an affect on him. Even as a baby Nolan was always my child that I could count on for a surprised hug at any time. I could just walk into the room were he would be engrossed in playing with his brother and he would be the first one to jump up and just wrap his arms around me. It is still the same but his hugs are just a little more gentle and are held a little longer. They are hugs of compassion instead of just fun. They are comforting hugs that he gives me to let me know he is here for me. There are times when I actually seek Nolan out just to get one of those unique hugs.

I have also seen Nolan's faith in the Lord grow tremendously since the cancer has come back. He truly puts all his fears on God. I love to quietly stand outside his room before bed and just listen to him pray. It is so deep for a ten year old. He is not asking for a new bike or a video game. He is asking for a cure for mommy, or to help his brothers, or to feed those who don't have food, or give homes to those who live in the streets. It is praying for others not for his own needs. I think he actual gets what some adults cannot wrap their minds around. He understands that life is not about him but about all of us together. I remember a few years ago when his godmother was very ill. He would prayed day and night for her to get better. Eventually she passed away at age 35. Nolan was just in complete peace and understanding. I thought he would be devastated but instead he wiped my tears and said that God needed her. Never once asked why or how come his prays where not answered. He understood and comforted me. Astonishing is all I can say.

After reading this post I am sure you can understand why Nolan was so difficult to write about. I could go on and on but it is just to emotional for me. My heart aches that a child of ten with such a great outlook on life has to see his mom fight for her life. I can only pray, maybe along with him, that he stays as precious as he is today, forever.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Middle Child

As promised I am continuing my post about my children and how we help them through this cancer journey. I re-posted my April 8th post below so it can bring you all back. As stated earlier in my blog it is so hard for me to write about them. But I am hoping it helps other moms who are suffering from cancer too. It is now my Logan's turn. My middle child and most complex of the three.

My middle son, Logan, is probably the hardest of the three to write about. I think it is because Mark being the oldest and me being the youngest of our families we have trouble relating to what he is going through being the middle of three boys. I must say he is absolutely amazing yet very complex. He is incredibly intelligent and analytical. However, that makes his mind wonder and assume to much. He is a thinker to a fault at times. I am at awe at some of the questions he asks and of course I can not always answer. Logan is completely different from Austen. He hates competing with his brothers, especially Austen. We think that is why he plays the only sport, soccer, that his brothers don't play. This year he decided to not play baseball or basketball (which I must say he was pretty good at) and focus just on soccer. A few seasons ago Austen decided not to play soccer anymore so I believe that gave Logan the freedom to call it "his sport". He likes to be different and not conform to what society says he should be like. He does not care what anyone thinks about him. If he likes something then no one will change that. He loves buildings, bridges, dams and anything built by man. That is why he inspires to be a architect.

Logan is extremely compassionate for others. He wears his heart on his sleeve and will go the extra mile to help anyone. He has had this quality as far back as a toddler. I always tell him he would be an amazing doctor because he is so kind when others are in need. He is the first to check on me when I am having a "sick day" and will get whatever I need. He is a caregiver in so many ways. However, it is a quality that some don't see because Logan is very opinionated. He is always fighting for what is fare and right even when it does not involve him. Which sometimes can get him in trouble. He likes to stick up for the underdog and actually befriends anyone who is in need. I can remember one summer when he was about 7. A woman at our community pool with her three very small children came up to Logan, handed him a huge wrapped gift and said thank you. I was in shock and asked her what that was for. She told me that the day before some older children where picking on her son, who we did not know, and taking his pool toys. Logan got so angry at the older kids that he went right up to them, grab the toys from them and told them off. He then gave all the toys back to the little boy, who was crying, and walked away. I was not surprised at all. Logan has always been a fighter, no matter what sizes his opponent is, if he is passionate about what he is fighting for. I sometimes tell him to stay out of things and walk away, especially after a visit to his principals office. But he can not let things go if he feels it is not right. I see him with protest sign in Washington DC someday.

These qualities make Logan the sensitive child he is today. That is why my cancer has been especially hard on him. He could not hold things in like Austen can. He has to let it all out. The problem is he does not want me to know that he is scared or sad so it frustrates him. He is very emotional but tries so hard not to be because he does not want to bother me. At night is when he does most of his thinking, which causes him to have trouble falling asleep. His mind just wonders and wonders about all kind of things. We joke with him and call him Eeyore because he is always asking "what if?" questions. That is why I let him write a post on this blog called "Wealth over Health" on March 1st. It gave him a chance to clear his mind. I know that it works for me I thought it would help him. Even as an infant Logan has been most attached to me. I sometimes wish he would get closer to Mark and not need me so much. I think that would make this journey a lot easier on him.

He claims he hates having an older brother but deep down I think he really looks up to Austen. A few days after I was diagnosed I walked by his room and heard Austen talking to him. It was one of those breathtaking moments. Austen was telling him not to worry about Mom, stay tough, and don't let her see you upset because stress is not good for her. I heard them both sniffling and cracking voices. Austen then told Logan if you want to get upset come see me and I will help you get through it. He then told Logan that he will take care of him and Nolan. They then must of heard me outside the door and starting arguing over a video game. But for about 2 minutes they were brothers.

Mark and I are trying really hard to show Logan the good in Mom's cancer. We teach him to be thankful for everyday and not take life for granted. When I hear him say something negative I tell him that today is to be a "Tigger day not an Eeyore day". He has even began saying that, after he says something not so positive, "Sorry mom that's an Eeyore statement not a Tigger statement". I give him the opportunity now to tell me what he is thinking and I reinforce to him no matter how sick I am I will always be here to listen to him. I tell him that is a mom's job and by him holding things in I can not do my job. I gave him a few notebooks and told him to write all his thoughts. It is only for his eyes unless he wants me or dad to read it. He loves doing that because he loves to write. It's been a great release for him, however he has not shared any with me yet. Mark and I try to spend a little more one on one with him. Even if it's just playing a video game with him for an hour or so. Although, I got really good at Fifa '09 and he now want play that with me anymore. He loves to read like me so I thought he and I would do a book club together. We would each read the same book at the same time and then once a week talk about it. He is a drummer and takes drum lessons with a great teacher. So I let him teach me what he learned every week. That way he feels some control over me.

He is still a work in progress. Every now and then Mark and I think of something more to help him get through this time. We are no experts on handling a middle child dealing with his mother having stage 4 cancer but we are learning as we go. We take one day at time and try to handle each situation that arises. I have seen a marvelous change in Logan though. He is happy and is express himself in a more positive way. He has not perfected the mind of matter way yet but it is coming. I see great things for Logan in his future.

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant. ~Epictetus

I know we have a lot to learn but I think we are doing okay with Logan. I hope I can instruct him to live a happy life long after I am gone.


Logan is a work in progress so I will continue posting about him. Maybe it's time for him to write a post too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back to Reality

Well the Carney Clan is home and ready to get back to the real life. After a 20 hour car ride to FL and a 17 hour car ride home ( don't ask about the three hour difference) we have survived each others love. Many friends think that Mark and I are absolutely nuts for driving to FL with three kids let alone doing it in one day. I must say the first time we did it, when the boys were small, Mark thought we were crazy. The trips before our first driving experiences we would fly and sometimes I would fly with the three boys myself. After hours of stress getting to the airport, 2 hours of screaming babies on the plane, standing in the rental car line and hoping we get the only mini-van left, and driving from the closest airport to Vero Beach it was more then 17 hours....not to mention the expense. So a few years back I talked Mark into doing the driving thing and he was pleasantly surprised how relaxing it actually can be. We have done the flying thing too with the family but driving is so much more educational, memorable, and bonding.

Driving was the only way I knew before I met Mark. As a little girl my father loved to take us on vacations. We did not have much money and we did have many kids but it never stop him from giving us the experiences that he thought we deserved. We would all pack up - swimsuit, sandals, two t-shirts and 2 pairs of shorts - pile in the car and off to FL we would go. There was no stopping at restaurants on the way, Mom would pack Kool-aide, fruit and peanut butter sandwiches, we only ate at rest areas out of the trunk of the car. We would stay at a great aunts home and all slept on the floor. We never brought home store bought souvenirs.... seashells from the beach and a baby food jar full of sand was our big gift. One night out of the week or two we would be there our Aunt would treat us to a dinner at a "real restaurant" and GOD Help us if we did not eat every bit on our plate and use the manners we were so diligently taught by our mother. We never augured....a least not out loud. We would sometimes give each other some sign language or wait until we got alone and give a pinch or tug to the sibling that deserved it, but never let our parents see it. We would spend morning to night at the beach sharing the couple of blow up rafts and sand buckets my father would splurge for once we got there if we were quiet the whole 2 to 3 day trip down. If we did stay in a hotel we never told them how many kids were really in the room. We were never aloud to walk the halls all together because they may guess there was more then a couple of us. That was our vacation and it was amazing.

As a college graduate and a middle income woman I never wanted that type of vacation for my kids. Actually I never knew that I really wanted that type of vacation for my kids. My father loved the finer things in life and with his career he had it all offered to him but when it came to his children all he wanted was being together. He had many opportunities to travel with his job but it would be just him and my mother. Those trips were not ones where he could focus on his family so we would stay home with Grandma. As we got older and my fathers career progressed our vacations got a little more quaint but always a car ride was included. I think that was my parents time to trap us all together and force us to get along.

Although, the boys are not forced to eat out of the trunk of the car, sleep on the floor or even sit next to each other in the three row SUV we have, the concept of being together is the same. We enjoy each others company and yes we are forced to even communicate. The boys are now enjoying some of our CDs like U2, journey, Alman Brothers, Greatful Dead etc., and even singing along. Something they would not dare to do in our neighborhood for fear that someone may recognizes them having fun in the car with their parents. The only stress we have is Mark trying to bet my other family members driving time. The bathroom breaks are no more then 10 minutes and the food is all drive thru (only if there is no line). I of course force him to stop at only respectable places to use the facilities because I am about done with squatting in the woods.

I know that the actual vacation will be great memories for the boys. The beach, the surfing, the boogie boarding, the board game competitions and even the new nickname I earned this trip (I am now know as the Diva of the family because of my outburst at the beach because the boys would not settle down enough to do a full fledged photo shot for me....I really wanted that perfect family portrait) will all be in their mind forever. But the ride to and from will be lasting. Every time I drive to FL since my dad passed I feel this familiarity and comfort. That is what I want for my boys. Of course I have no plans on going anywhere soon but I want my boys to have these memories.

On a different subject, I finished Michael J Fox's new book "The Incurable Optimist". Although I respect him, his journey with his disease and am amazed at what he has done for Parkinson's research, I must say I was quite disappointed in his definition of optimism. I read the book from cover to cover even highlighting certain passages that I thought were inspirational. I have to say he really does not seem as optimistic as he thinks he is. First and foremost, I was quite disturb at his non belief in God's power. He claims he believes that their is a higher power but does not believe He is in control. Secondly, his political views are a little narrow minded. The stemcell research he is fighting for has no limits. Lastly, I had to go back through the book and count how many times he actually spoke about being optimistic and I was able to use one hand.

I admire his great bonds of he gives everyday to be a activist, a father, a husband and a Parkinson's patient. Daily he withstands huge obstacles just to get out of bed. I also admire his will to live and to find a cure for others suffering. His strength and resilience are enormous. His passion to live each day for his family is familiar. I question his anger that he has about having an incurable disease and his lack of faith in our Lord. I feel that if he let go of all his anger and put his trust in God he will live a more peaceful life.

This is just my opinion as promised. Take it or leave it.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Sunshine State

I know, I know I owe Nolan a blog. I am sitting here in Penera's at 6:30 am and I don't want the tears to flow. So I will wait until I can get up the courage to post about my sweet child.

I've been waking up the past few mornings around 5:30 am to go out on the beach and photograph the sunrise. It's something I've never had the desire to do before but now I don't want to waste any minute. I want to say I've photographed a sunrise at every east coast beach I've been. Crazy I know, but I feel great after I see the beauty God has given us. It just reminds me that anything is possible in Him. I can not believe all these years that I have been visiting my mom in FL and I never got my lazy butt out of bed to see this amazing sight. It's just one more good thing I slept through. Last night at dinner I tried to convince my mom, Mark and the boys what an awe it is to see and to come with me this morning. They looked at me like I was insane. Of course I got the lecture from Mark that I need my sleep and I cannot get better if I don't get my rest. I don't think he get's that I don't have a flu bug,...."I have an incurable cancer buddy....I can sleep when I am dead". After that comment I got that pissed off look that he get's when he knows he cannot win an agrument with me. I am not sure if it's his worring or that fact that he knows he cannot get up and does not want to feel a little guilty that I am doing this alone. Whatever the case it's his lost and he does not know what he is missing. Yesterday I even spotted some dolphins. This morning I did actually recruit Nolan to come along (of course I bribed him with breakfast out after....he'll do anything for food). I should of tried that with Mark. I am not sure which one he values more food or sleep but I know that choice would be to stressful for him while on vacation.

Anyways I know many are thinking what the hell is she doing taking her boys out of school, packing the car and just going to FL when her blood counts are low and the doctor recommends staying in bed (sorry for the runon). No planning or anything - just going. I know I don't owe anyone an explanation but I feel I need to give one anyway. Have you ever just felt the need to do something and you just can not wait to do later? It may be something as small as giving into the carving of a food you should not have or as crazy as buying a new home. That is what I was feeling. I just need to go to a place with my family that we have always had happy memories. Where the boys learned to walk, swim and surf. Where Mark and I spend nights out on the beach. Where the sun comes up everyday and warms our face. And where the cancer is not known. After all the treatments and pressure I just needed to be alone with my family. Was it the most responsible thing to do? Absolutely not. But I have been responsible all my life - not just for me but also for Mark and the boys. I needed to just give into my craving of the one place that has always been my refuge. That is Vero Beach FL.

The kids call this place Zero Beach. They say because there is nothing to do past 7pm. Everything closes expect the beach. I think they have read 3 full books each and we have only been here for a few days. They spent some time with my brother and his family. They surfed, boogie board and skim board. They have swam until wee hours. Most importantly they have spent time with just me. Mark has spent his time in the ocean with the boys and working on his new job. Afterall he has the best boss he could ever ask for. As long as he preforms in his job life is good.

I know when I get back my full time job as a carcinoid cancer patient and photographer is coming again. But for now I am just a mom living in paradise. When my father bought his dream home here he said it was for the whole family. At that time I was getting married and working on my career - the last thing I could think about was going to FL. Since I have had the boys we try to come down at least twice a year, when they were small is was sometimes more. It wonders me how much he was preparing us for hard times. He knew that we would all need a place to escape from our worries now and then, WE just did not know it. Unfortunately he died a few years later, here in Vero, and never got to see how much my boys love this place. I think about him every day I am here because I know that as a 65 year old man he was being a father when he decided to buy this place. He knew that all his children will need a place to run to when life got tough, regroup and go back fighting. I think that each and everyone of us have done that a few times in the past 15 years. In fact right after my rediagnoses the first thing my siblings said to me was, "you need to go away to FL....figure things out and then make decisions". I did not do that because I just want to get on with treatment and get better fast. But know a year later reality set in and I needed to regroup. I know now that getting better fast is not going to happen.

I spoke with a new doctor yesterday and unfortunately the news was not as promising as I hoped. I wanted him to tell me that he had the magic pill and I would be cured as soon as I take it. I guess that's the optimist in me. He was my one hope I've been holding on to. Well, it was not the case and I must say I was glad I was in this beautiful place when I got the news. I was glad I had my boys to hug and a beach to hit. Of course, that speeds up my plans a little but it does not give up my fight.

It is storming now - one of those FL storms that if back home the dish and lights would be out. I know Mark is passing back at the house so I better complete this later. Oops there my cell ringing now....He is on the hunt for me.

Until Later,

Friday, May 8, 2009


I know that I was due for Nolan's post but I had to talk about Michael J. Fox's new book and television show, which aired last night, "The adventures of an Incurable Optimist". I wish I would of thought of that Title. What an inspiration he is to anyone who is suffering from an incurable disease.... or just to anyone who lacks faith. I have not started the book but can not wait to jump into it this weekend when I am traveling (Mark, the boys and I decided to take a road trip, who knows where we will end up...the plan is FL). For anyone who does not have the time to read I will give you all updates from the book as I go along.

I could not take my eyes of the television last night when I was watching his show. To see all those who keep the faith and fight the good fight with a smile on their face totally inspired me. When I was falling asleep I thought of a quote that I must of heard somewhere and I just had to post it today.

"The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose."

I think is was sent to me in a get well card. It must of made a huge impact because it just popped in my head out of nowhere. As I ponder this quote I thought, "do I see the rose or the thorns". I hope that I see the rose because what a waste of my time staring at thorns.
Roses as life is so precious and such a gift. I don't have time for any thorns or problems. I want to see the beauty in everything and ignore all the thorns in my life. How depressing my life would be right now if I only saw the thorns. This time I have more thorns then roses but the roses are so much more beautiful then the ugliness of the many thorns. I want to be the optimist.

Last night Micheal J Fox talked about an actual medical test you can take to see if you have the optimist gene or the pessimist gene. I don't ever want to take that test. I am afraid of the results and I don't want that to change my attitude. Can you imagine finding out that you are suppose to be a pessimist? How depressing that would be? Pardon the pun. I guess the gene thing explains a lot about a few people I know but I don't want to be forced into that group. I think finding out that I am made to me miserable might be worse then when I found out I have stage 4 cancer and 6 months to live . By the way that was almost a year ago. HA HA to those pessimist doctors.

I have so much to write on this subject but I really need to get packing so I will continue this post from where ever I end up next week. Hopefully visiting my Mom in FL but who knows where the road will take us. Until then I have a wish for you all:

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.”

My wishes have come true so I wish it all for you.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Keep Running R4R

Today is the Pittsburgh Marathon. I am so exciting I could not sleep. R4R, my running angels, are running for Carcinoid Cancer. I am so proud of the 20+ people that are running today that I feel like I am running myself. Thank you R4R for all your support and passion about Carcinoid Cancer. Awareness is the first start for a cure for Carcinoid Cancer and all of you running with those Tshirts on is doing that. My family and I will be cheering you along on the sidelines. Look for our HUGE signs. I will feel your pain when you come by us. Stay strong and Proud.






Friday, May 1, 2009


Yesterday was the big day for my MRI of the brain. As stated in a few postings back my oncologist thought that I needed to have one STAT on April 21st because of some issues I have been having. So I guess to his nurses STAT meant a week in a half later. I did not fight the issue, like I normally would, when she called me with the time and date of the scheduled appointment because I was not looking forward to having this scan. A brain scan is my least favorite of all the scans I continue to receive. WOW, I am actually rating scans now, like I use to rate movies. Note to self....get a life beyond cancer. Besides, deep down I feel that the cancer has not spread to the brain. I personally think my issues are from the treatments. However, if it has spread then I am not in a rush to find out. If you remember me posting before I hate bad news so I really try to avoid it as long as possible. Before the emails start coming yelling at me to get my scans, I did go yesterday.

I decided to do this one on my own. I had many volunteers wanting to take me but sometimes it's nice to test my strength and see what I can do by myself. In addition, I hate having to put others out. Not to mention the sight at Hillman Cancer Center, when you are not use to seeing a huge room full of 100+ very ill cancer patients with their loving ones, can be quite dispiriting. Also, I don't like to stress about having those who go with me feeling sorry for me or any of my fellow cancer victims. I think about the first time, at age 24, when I went to get my very first scan. I thought I had my act together and could handle anything back then. I probably took 2 hours the night before picking out my outfit. I took my lunch break from my first good paying job out of college and thought I could just run in, get the scan and be back to the office to make the afternoon sales meeting. Well, my ignorance got the best of me. The visions of that waiting room haunted me for months. I think it was then that I started to realizes that there is more to life then having a huge career and making tons of money. Although, I am sure the news about the cancer on my ovary a few days later hit it home. I even had Mark stay at work yesterday. I must admit though it was sad being the only one in the whole waiting room with nobody sitting next to me. But when it was all over, I felt elaborated that I did this on my own. It's like climbing another cancer mountain. I refuse to let this disease take my independence from me. However, now that I know I can do it I don't want to try it again.

I feel very guilty sometimes sitting there with IV's in my arm and looking so well. I know what the others around me are feeling...I've been there and sometimes feel that bad. But for some reason from God I don't look as sick. When the nurse called my name to take me back to insert the IV I stood up in a crowd full of patients and she asked me if the patient is in the restroom. I told her I was the patient and she took a double take. Once we got back to the small medically equipped room she apologized and told me that after reading my records she was expected someone in a wheel chair or at least looking much more ailing. I don't know why I am blessed to faux everyone around me. I don't know why others loose their hair and some don't. I just know that I have been truly blessed. At that moment I just thanked God for the blessing and then thanked Clineque. Going over the charts always takes time. She asks about each one of my numerous procedures and surgeries over the past so many years as if it could not be true. It's the same each time I go, they give me this implausible tone of voice and say, "you've had knee surgery, shoulder surgery, ovary removed, 2 other surgeries of the other ovary, 3 children, 2 miscarriages, 2 lung surgery, 1 lung removed, 9 surgical biopsies of 4 different organs, 3 chemo-immobilization's, many chemo and radiation treatments, treatments in Europe" and on and on they go as if anyone can make this crap up. It is then ended with, "you are 30 what?". I always like to spice things up with "no that's not me, I'm just here for an ingrown toenail?". I then finally get a smile and the sympathetic "I feel sorry for you look" disappears.

After being poked 9 times and looking like my mother's pin cushion she's proudly had for 30+ years, I was told that I am going to need to get a port soon. My good veins are now exhausted and the sooner I get that done the easier it will be. I had to wonder though easier for who? After looking at my records do you think I want to go through another procedure. I finally pointed out my secret good vain and success it was. The MRI lasted about 30 minutes and the tech was amazing. I warned her that I may start to feel trapped and if I yell please get me out asap. There was no need for that after all but the tech defiantly check on me many times. Last May when I had my first brain scan I think I had to be taken out 3 or 4 times before I could relax. I should have my results back by today but who knows when I will actually get a call. It's seem that doctors think that terminal cancer patient have all the time in the world to wait. I am pretty sure though it's nothing.

I will continue next week on the blogs about the kids. Logan's post is one that needs some time to work on.