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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I remember when

Tomorrow is liver scan day and we will know if the chemo-embolization that I went through a few months ago attacked the tumors in the liver. I am a few weeks behind on this scan because I was having insurance issues again and really did not need to add to my mountain of medical bills on my dinning room table.  It took me a few weeks to fight that blah blah blah of an insurance company but finally they agreed to pay.  It's great to have such wonderful doctors because as soon as I called them on Friday to tell them I won the insurance battle I was slid in for my scan first thing Monday morning.  Getting an appointment for a CT scan so quickly is  kinda unheard of now a days so I am truly lucky. Mark has a client meeting, that I refused to let him cancel, so I am going alone. 

As I plan for my day tomorrow I thought about how a year and a half ago going to a scan by myself was impossible for me. Never did I imagine I would ever be in a place that I was relaxed enough to take that on.  Although, according to a few doctors they would of bet I would not be here today to attempt it. A year ago I would start thinking about the scan two days before and then obsess over the results. I would beg and beg God for good results or even just keep things the way they were. Asking Him over and over again not to give me anymore because I was not sure I could handle it.  Then when I would get some not so positive news I would obsesses over what to do about it.  Today I went to the calendar to see what tomorrow would bring and there it was, written in pink highlighter because a pen was nowhere to be found when the doc called,  the word SCAN 10 AM.  I had completely forgotten about it and not once this whole weekend did I think of the "what if's".

I remember when everything was riding on the results of the scans.  It was if life stopped or took a pause from the time the scan was scheduled to the time I sat in the little room a few days later waiting to see the expression on the doctor's face.  It's not like that anymore.  Some might say its because I have been fighting for so long that I am use to it.  I have to disagree with that because you never get "Used To" living with cancer.  Others would say it's because I block it out.  I am not sure if I block it out or just don't let IT, the cancer, take over my life. I over heard someone who knows me well, or at least thinks they know me well, at the Miles for Smiles 5k that I am finally accepting my cancer.  Well I know that is not the case because I will never accept this monster or become content with it living inside of me. I know that whatever the results maybe I can handle it.  I may not be happy and even may shed a tear or two but because of the support I have I can deal with whatever it is the doctor tells me. 

Tuesday I have an appointment with my liver oncologist and the only thing I am worried about is making it home in time to get dinner on the table for the boys.  We have a hectic evening of sports and homework planned.  The thought of worrying about the "what if" it's growing still is the last thing on my mind. I refuse to give cancer that much credit. I am POSITIVE it's because I have faith that whatever it may be God will be with us.  Please keep me in prayers that I continue to have peace in whatever is to come.