SUNNY CARNEY
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, January 1, 2012

 

 

2012 is here and I am here. As I reminisce about the end of one year and celebrate the coming of a new year I cannot help but go back to the post I wrote a year ago (which I republished below. A year ago today I had just had my femur and hip replaced because the cancer had eaten through those bones. It was a tough recovery now looking back and many of you know that oops of the surgery, however I did awaken from the surgery with my leg. Even though it is not perfect and I have some issues the doctors where able to save it. Only three years prior I would of had it amputated. So truly one blessing despite the pain. 

Since last year I have more growth and some progression.  I had two chemoembolizations which helped keep the liver tumors stable. I think back to when I was first diagnosed three years ago and those wicked treatments where experimental.  My bone mets are larger and several more have appeared.  However, no other organs are invaded yet.  So yes things are different but yes I am here.  I have strong faith that the treatment on January 23rd in Basel, Switzerland will take care of those or at least keep it stable like the last two times.  


My point is there is STILL HOPE.  I have not got to the point where there is NO OPTIONS. Now I will tell you I have been told a few times this year that THERE IS NO MORE OPTIONS for me, but with my faith in the Man Above I have been given perseverance.  That perseverance has kept me going on to not take no for an answer where treatments are concerned.  Last year at this time I had full intent to head to Houston.  I had all my information and records there.  I had an apartment set up and even a date for the first treatment.  At that time I really thought that was my next step.  However, I did not let you all know this but I really was trying my hardest to get accepted back to the Swiss.  I knew that I had three more opportunities for treatment there but they were not accepting me because of my progression and my condition.  So Houston was the way I was turning.  They were accepting anyone that would pay their price which is beyond my ability to count that high on a bad day of pain.  In fact Mark and I joked that it was the same price of our first house and two cars put together.  But my stubbornness was getting me there.  I knew though that Switzerland was where I needed to because it worked the last time.  It did not shrink the tumors but it kept me stable for almost 18 months.  In that 18 months several other treatments became available. 

With so much pray, SOOOOO MUCH, and so many convincing letters to the Swiss doctor from me and three of my oncologist I was reluctantly accepted.  I have to tell you I have never thanked the Lord so much then on the day I received the email that finally said I was accepted.  Next was getting the money for that trip.  Which I have to say is much less then our own country was charging me.  We had a few bumps in the road and set it back a few weeks but we are finally leaving on January 20th.  So as you can see the faith that God would lead me to the right place and the perseverance that faith gave me is getting me there.  I know that I am not cured yet, but I really feel so thankful that I have this opportunity to try.  

At the end of my last years post I said, "This year I am still keeping my last years goal of FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE but I am adding a new ending.....I am FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE WITH A PURPOSE."  Without being boastful, I think I have done that.  I finally got my butt in gear and published my book on my battles.  I try really hard to reach out to every email I receive, especially the cancer newbies.  And I really hope I have set an example to others on how to live through your adversities with meaning. All of the mentioned is nothing of my doing though, its God working through me.  Trust me if I did not have faith I would not be here today.  GUARANTEE!!!  I will admit, which I don't want to do, but I have been sicker.  I also know that I have several more down days this year then last but I hope that means that my fight was better because I am still here.  I know that when I sat at this computer last year in the back of my mind I thought there was a chance that I would not be sitting here today.  After all I lost eleven of my carcinoid cancer posse this year, all diagnosed after me with less invasion.   But for God's grace I am sitting here posting to you all.  So I feel obligated to keep on keep with a purpose.

 This year I am still keeping my last years goal of FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE and I am FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE WITH A PURPOSE but again I am adding my new ending......I am FIGHTING WITH FAITH AND EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS GOING THROUGH ANY ADVERSITY.  And when I say quietly, "I don't think I can go anymore" which I will say, I am looking for all those that have been loving me through this Battle to tell me, "yes you can".  

Happy New Year,
Sunny  

 below is last years New Year's Post.  

 

Friday, December 31, 2010


2011

First before I get into my post I want to update all of you on how I am feeling. I have been overwhelmed with your emails and phone calls and assure you my lack of posting is only because my teenagers and the Holidays are keeping me busy and not because I have been too sick to post. As I stated in the last entry the surgery went very well. The recovery has been just as smooth. Its painful and very frustrating that I cannot be independent but I am way ahead of schedule for healing. I am walking with crutches and able to put weight on my hip and leg. Sleeping is complicated and I don't think since the surgery I have had more the 2 to 3 hours of sleep at a time. However, I have plenty of time to sleep later. I've been trying hard to tag along with Mark and the boys wherever they are going and even went to watch them Ice Skate at the outside Winter Classic Rink. After battle the crowds we ended up finishing the night at the PPG rink and then dinner with two other families. That was a little rough, only because I LOVE to skate and it killed me to watch. I got some great shots though. Mark brought the wheelchair but in all the confusion and crowds I just hobbled with the crutches. Its been great the last week here in Pittsburgh with all the excitement going on with the NHL Hockey Winter Classic being hosted in our great city. It's a good distraction for my sports crazed boys. I don't want the boys to miss out on that once in a lifetime opportunity so we are trying to make the best of my situation. I feel so blessed that I am well enough to hang with them most of the time and the rest of the time they don't want me with them. I know it's not perfect circumstances but I am determined to do whatever I can and not put limits on myself. Mark and the doc are not as happy with me pushing my limits. I don't think they can really understand until they are fighting this beast. So I listen to the lectures, especially from Mark, and just do what I can do.

Before I started to post I went back to the post that I wrote this time in 2009. Reading it reminded me how far I have come with this cancer in just one year. As I am going through this journey on a day to day basis it seems so consuming. With each appointment, treatment, surgery, new researching, scan and then the news it is hard to look at the big picture. That is why I am so glad that I started this blog. I am able to go back and reflect on the changes that have really happened. Last year at this time I did not know about the new experimental treatment that I am attempted at the end of January. The surgery seemed like a hopeless attempt to keep my leg. And truthfully I was not sure I would be here writing today.

That is why I must say that once again I feel so blessed. Over and over again I am told by those who love me, my friends and doctors that my unusual strength and fight is what is keeping me alive. I have had comments made to me that, "I keep getting back up every time I'm knocked down", or "I wont go down without a fight" and on and on. Just yesterday Logan and Nolan had a conversation with me about how tough I am. At my last appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Friedland, he came into the room as I was reading a Joyce Meyers book titled, "Never Give Up" and he took the book from my hands. He looked at it and said, "you don't need this, you'll never quit". I have to admit, I am quite humbled by all those comments and I want to start 2011 off by letting everyone know that I am NOT special. My choice to fight it not unusual and it is not something that I do on my own. I don't have some super strength or power. In fact there are so many other people fighting cancer that are tougher then I will ever be. But first and foremost what I do have that unfortunately others have not found is the Lord with me during every battle with this cancer. Every time I am at my lowest point and I think I cannot do one more treatment, one more surgery or one more appointment I truly pull my strength through God and pray. He gives me the ability to pull something out of somewhere and gets me or US (my family) through it. He gives me the peace I need and the knowledge continue on the journey.


So 2011 for me is going to be about making a difference like so many have made a difference in my life. Its going to be about reaching out to those who battle what I am battling but don't know where to get their strength from. When I say, "battle what I am battling", I don't mean just cancer, I mean adversity. I want to somehow express that if you give yourself and your problems to Him then He will give you the strength to fight it. I don't think God will always wipe your problems away because you have faith in Him. In fact if I look back since my diagnosis my struggles have tripled since then. However, I think he gives you the peace and the tools to climb the mountain. He puts you in situations and gives you people to help you through your troubles. This year I am still keeping my last years goal of FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE but I am adding a new ending.....I am FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE WITH A PURPOSE.


Happy New Year,

Sunny