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, October 21, 2009

My Observations

So today I had a bone scan. Out of all the scans this one is the most pleasant. I can't believe I just used the adjective pleasant to describe a scan. It must be the drugs. But really with all the scans I have gotten in the last few months let alone the last year this one gets a B+. I arrive at 9:30 A.M. where I waited. I am then shuffled to another room where I waited. Then a tech (usually one of "my boys" as I like to call my handsome studs that scan me for all the odd ball scans I need to get) injects me with some type of radiation thing. I wait three hours for it to get to the bones or kill me whatever comes first. Then the scan begins. You are told it takes about 30 minutes but for me it always takes over an hour or so because of the number of metes (never got why they call tumors metes) that I have.

Today I decided to observe some of the things that are going around me in a room full of cancer patients waiting to hear their destiny. Mark, was cracking up at me because I was sitting with my little "notebook" laptop jotting down everything I saw. He leaned into me and whispered, "you always come in here with blinders on. Now what are you doing?". I told him I was living. I am no longer ignoring what is going on in this world of cancer.

This is what I observed:

1. Rude secretary completely clueless that each person she is snapping at have so much more going on in their life then hating there job. God help her.

2. Worried elderly lady holding her husbands hand as he sits in a wheelchair with an IV in his arm and a smile on his face. She is thinking of her future without him, he is looking at the young Drug rep sitting across from him that is wearing a short skirt and sitting with her legs uncrossed. Sorry Mark pointed that one out to me.

3. Mother and Daughter sitting very close to each other while surfing the web for wedding gowns. Mother wearing a beautiful red scarf on her hairless head and daughter hugging her so tight. They are so happy despite the battle.

4. Mark sitting next to me telling dirty jokes to another elderly man. The man is laughing so hard I am scared he is going to fall off his seat. However, the snotty lady in the J. Crew cashmere sweater, I know that because I just got the catalog yesterday, is giving Mark looks that are dirtier then his jokes. "Get I life lady". I just smiled at her and she looked the other way. She must waiting for someone because she's to mean to have cancer.

5. Several names being called out at one time by the mean secretary. The patient jumps up with excitement because it's finally their turn. They quickly lose that excitement when they are asked to stand in line and then follow the nurse into another room to be injected. Like a group of cattle being herded to the next step of their fate. I've been there, done that.

6. Automatic doors opening and closing with patients and their cancer buddies coming and going. Coming with anxiety and leaving with exhaustion.

7. Three Television in three different corners of the large pen all with different stations and volume turned down. WTF are they doing to these patient. Just teasing them. I decided to walk over to one and turn the volume up. Now I see a bunch of happy faces.

8. A husband and wife dressed in designer clothes sitting prim and proper. They are not wanting to look around for fear of what they may see. They are also afraid to get comfortable because they think that they don't belong here. Probably cancer newbies. Reminds me of Mark and I way back when. Not sure which one has the affliction. I would like to see them a few months from now to see how they change.

9. A young girl with a beautiful face but tears in her eyes. She is bald and scared. She is sitting next to me all by herself. I decided to reach over and tell her it will be okay. She puts her hand on my arm and shakes her head. Me in 1995.

10. Oh my favorite nurse just walked in. She has that smile of peace on her face. She shoos Mark to the next seat and sits down next to me to give me a hug. I pull out the big bag of lemon candies that I bring for her other patients. With Hillman's cut backs they discontinued that treat for the chemo patients who have mouth sores. She sneaks the bag in her lab coat like it's a drug deal or something. We laugh.

11. That same nurse moves down next to the young girl who is next to me. She starts to explain the scan to her. I am so relieved that this girl has her today. However, I want her too.

12. A middle age man, okay my age, sits across from me with his brother. He is wearing a black Under Armor running suit. He is fit and looks perfectly healthy. He is drinking that nasty crap they make us drink for some kind of scan that I try to forget. I am lucky that I am small so I only have to drink two bottles....he has three, yuk. He is making faces and gaging. His brother is laughing, but I can see the pain in his eyes. It's that kind of laugh that you get when you are really nervous and don't know what else to do. He asked me if I have ever had to drink it. I shake my head yes. Mark adds, "They should serve it with Jim Beam". God sometimes he is so embarrassing.....he got a big laugh today. I told the gentleman to hold his nose and just suck it down. He tries and spits it all over his black jacket. Oh well! Mean secretary is coming over. Oh no!!!!

13. A family of brothers and sisters from Ohio. I know that because they asked the brothers across from me how to get on the PA turnpike and conversation went on. They are sitting close while they take turn pacing back and forth. Each one of them catering to their mothers every need. One brings her a snack, another a drink, another holds her hand, while the youngest boy hands her a magazine. She hands him back the magazine and tells him it's from May of 2007. He apologizes and tells her he will go to the news stand outside to get her another one. He wants out, but buddy there are no news stands outside. Kinda of cool to listen to the stories. There mother looks tired and worn out but she is happy to have her kids with her.

My name is being called. It's time for me to get herded with the rest of my cancer posse to the next wait.

To Be Continue for another day.