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

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Opinion 2

Yesterday I meet with my main Oncologist Dr. Freidland to discuss the findings and treatment plan from Dr. O'Dorisio in Iowa. I must say I am completely wiped out and frustrated with the time I am spending on this cancer and the time I am losing with my boys. Austen spent the day with a friend so we brought Logan and Nolan with us. They were not loving that fact that they had to come but they don't mind Hillman as much because they have roaming computers with Internet access in the waiting room. To me that just means prepare to wait. The boys stayed in the waiting room while Mark and I saw the doctor and after a 2 hour wait to just get in the examining room, I could care less what they destroyed or how they acting while unattended. Normally I would give the boys the 10 minute lecture of how they should behave and then have them repeat it all back to me to make sure that they understood every single word. But yesterday I was so mad at this cancer and then the 2 hour wait, that I just let the "Carney Crazies" loose. I must say though it did not work because they were little angels. Maybe that's my new discipline plan.....say and do nothing. We had planned to take them to a special place after my 2:00 appointment so that they could have a good day. But the 2:00 appointment turned into a 4:30 appointment and we did not get out of there until 5:15 only to rush home to make a 6:00 baseball practice. So I will say another day lost to cancer.

Anyhow, once Dr. Friedland came into the room I was so prepared to just give him a "Sunny Smackdown", as Mark refers to the actions I take when I am really pissed off, about the way the office is run and the time I am wasting with my boys, but he makes that impossible. He is amazingly kind and so caring about my cancer. He is a general oncologist that sees every type of cancer so it always astonishes me that he is so up to date on the newest treatments for carcinoid. Of course I try to stump him by bringing him a folder full of new meds I've read and researched about, new clinical trails or a group of new questions but once again he was on his game. He spent over 45 minutes with me going over every scan, X-Ray, treatment options and how I am feeling. I always forget how long he spends with me and should realizes that is why I wait so long. I am sure he does that with each of his patients. Then he gives me the pep talk about not giving up. So it makes the wait worth it but nothing is worth missing time with the boys.

So to sum this up, he to agrees that the surgery should not be an option at this point. He explains that I need to focus on treatments and having a surgery right will postpone treatments that I need. He did not rule out the surgery in the near future but as of now he wants to focus on the other treatments. However, he agrees with all other treatment plans that Dr. O'Dorisio suggested. So tomorrow I go back to Hillman and receive my first treatment for my bone tumors. I was told that I will feel lousy for a few days to a week but after that I should get use to it. This treatment most likely will not shrink the tumors in my bones but will help with the pain and possibly slow down the growth. Then a few weeks after that I start the magic drug with the outrageous cost. Then we plan for round 3 in Switzerland.

I am still going to follow up with one more doctor about the surgery options. I have to make sure I am doing everything right. I respect all three of the physician and their dedication to Carcinoid Cancer and me. But they are not the ones who are going to raise my boys if I make the wrong decision about my care. So next week I will contact Dr. O'do and let him know what my doctors' opinions. Then I may contact another specialist, Dr. Warner, in New York and get his opinion. He runs the Carciniod Cancer Foundation where he posts my blog and recommends his patient take a look at my story. I have spoke with him a few times in the past year but maybe it's time for a visit.

Please keep me in your prayers tomorrow. I am a bit nervous about this new treatment for the bones. I don't want to spend a week of my summer sick, but I'll do whatever it takes.