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.
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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'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
C/o S & T Bank
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Its been a rough week. The chemoembolization procedure to the liver went well with no complication. I only had a short stay in the hospital and the kids did great with my mom at home. She even told me they were good, that's huge. The pain was there but I got through it. The nausea and vomiting was normal. It was just as expected. But I did not handle it well. I was frustrated and impatient. Actually, I still am a little. I want to be well and back at things.
However that is not why I posted today. I am posting today because it is the first day of school again and I am here to see my boys go. BC (before cancer) I use to hate the first day of school. I loved having my boys home and had anxieties about sending them on a school bus packed with wild kids. Not this year or the year before. This year I cried tears of joy. JOY that I am here to see them make it through one more milestone. This last week, because of the embolization, I have been really sick and unable to get up with them. I have been in bed most of the week recovering and the smell of food has been enough to make me not want to get out of bed. So last night I prayed really hard that God will give me the strength to at least be able to see them walk out the door. Then I thought "that's not good enough", so I prayed for God to give me the strength to get them up and at least get some breakfast for them. Then it came to me that I always tell the boys that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE IF YOU HAVE FAITH IN GOD, so I prayed even louder that He give me strength to get up before them, wake them up with my traditional first day of school chant, make each one of them their favorite first day of school breakfast, take their photos at the same place I have for the past ten years, take them to the bus stop to photograph the neighborhood kids and wave goodbye. I was asking a lot considering how I was feeling yesterday, but He can part seas and move mountains why not help a mom get out of bed.
So this morning at 4:30 am I opened my eyes to intense pain and nausea like I have everyday this week. However, today I got my little butt out of bad, forced some yogurt and IB Prophen down my throat. I got a shower and waited by the alarm clock until it started blaring our favorite station to warn us its time for them to get up and the craziness to begin. I was able to do it all, even cook. I did it and did it well. The hugs were stronger this year, after all Austen is reaching six foot. The photos were more this year because the memories are more important. I even got in a few not caring how I looked. But what was really noticeably different is that my boys were confident, strong, and happy. I know it was because they saw me be me. So I had to keep the traditions going and shed some tears, but they were tears of pure JOY. The were tears of pride and accomplishment. Mostly though, they were tears of THANKS. Thanks to God for all my answered prays. Thanks to all my family who goes beyond lengths for me and my boys. Thanks for my friends and community who have been stepping in to help.
Today is going to be a great day, but I think I need a nap now.
Friday, August 27, 2010
On the bright side I am better then the first one I had a year and half ago.
Monday, August 23, 2010
It is now Tuesday and I am waiting to be put under for my embolization but I had to blog. I was thinking about last nights verse and I thought we all harbor secret fears. I hide my cancer fear sees in the darkness in my heart and on days like today it comes out. Those fears terrify me and the questions start rolling in my heard. That is when I need to reach out to Him. Only God can banish you fears from your heart altogether,. The more you know the God who holds you the more you see that his power is greater than anything you will face. His strength has no limit; his love for us has not end. We need to know that deep down in our hearts that even if we are faced with the worse befalls ever God is on our side. He is enough.
Got to run its time for me to go under.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
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Monday, August 16, 2010
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a
light from within."
I love this quote. When I read it I got to thinking: "what does it mean to have a light from within?". Just a thought.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Anyways, Dr. Friedland my lead oncologist had everything laid out for me when I met with him. It was great that he is doing the thinking for me because quite frankly I am getting burned out with all my research. The game plan is as follows:
1. On August 23rd I will go into University of Pittsburgh/ Presby hospital to receive a chemo-embolization to the new tumor in the liver. I will stay a day or two and then recover at home.
2. Then three weeks later I will be receiving a new chemotherapy IV that has been quite successful in keeping carcinoid cancer stable.
3. I will also be consulting with a new doc in Houston about a treatment there. It is similar to what I have received in Europe but a watered down version. If that is a go it will start ASAP.
So there we have it, a game plan. It looks so good in writing. So organized and systematical. Although I know that it is subject to change depending on my body. Or maybe a miracle treatment may pop up in the meantime.
What I know that will not change is my faith and perseverance. I am determined more then ever to get this hell out of me. I don't want to learn to live with it and hang onto it. I want to be cured.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Truly, I feel this urgent need to share with everyone what I have witness over the past few weeks. Yes, I was at a low point with my disease. To spare the details, I was really sick. In that time I have had the most amazing out pour of help, encouragement, strength, and love. I have witness God's work at hand. I have seen that I am never alone and that at any time of the day or night I have this huge support system. I learned that at my lowest point with this cancer if I keep my faith in Him and give it to Him, He will bring people into my life to lift me up.
If it was an unexpected dinner, a drop by from a friend, or an email or card it was what I needed to get me through. Every time I prayed.....God worked. A friend taking me to treatment, my sisters listening to me cry on the phone, my mother staying with me to take over my motherly duties, Mark just listen to me complain and whine and a few friends taking the liberty to plan sometime for me to get away with my four boys are just to mention a few answers. However, through these weeks I have actually had some true heart to heart conversations with God. I have questioned and He answered. I asked him to take away my fears and I got peace. I even beg Him to take away some of the most horrific pain in my chest that I have ever felt and a few days and it had lessened to a tolerable rate. I had blood counts that were so low that my doctor took me off all my treatments only to have them up again in a few days.
I feel so blessed to be able to believe and have faith. I feel so blessed to have all of you who reached out to me. Thank you. I am taking the next four days to focus on Mark and the boys. I am so looking forward to just being a mom and not a cancer fighter. Please keep me in your prayers.
I must take some time in the next few days to update everyone on my new course of treatment. I am just in such a good place right know I don't want to think about it. I will catch up though because after all my blog's purpose help all of my carcinoid posse and share my treatment experience. Updates soon!