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



Thursday, January 26, 2012

OUT

I am so happy that Mark took over my blog and entertained you all while I was in the hospital.  I have to say I am glad he had it to keep his mind off of leaving me everyday.  After reading all he wrote he kept it very light and entertaining. We were also blessed with the presence of our dear friend Peter from Amsterdam.  I just love spending time with him.  He is so kind and such an amazing friend to both Mark and myself.  I even let him in the hospital room on Tuesday when I have to say I was really at a bad place.  He has this calming sense about him and really at that point I just needed to see a smile.  It was great to see Mark leave with him and me knowing that the tears Mark was holding back he could let out to Pete when they walked out the door together.  I know Mark filled you in on some of the happens of my uptake on the Y90 and the reaction my body had but I think I need to explain a little more so that my carcinoid posses that are thinking about this treatment don't think this is normal.  I want you to understand that I fought hard to get into this treatment.  My weight was not where the Swiss docs like it, my tumor involvement is quite  large in the liver and bones, and my blood levels and markers were poor.  So with many letters from my several oncologists doctors and myself to the Basel team I finally got the ok.  I am saying this because all that happen to me is all that was predicted under my condition.  However, I prayed so much and knew this treatment is what I had to do one last time.  I really had to give it a try because there was nothing else more effective for me at this time.  I put it in God's hands and felt this strong gut feeling that this is what I needed to do.   

Once I got the initial injection I felt a little shaken and light headed but ok.  Then as the day progressed with close monitoring from the doctors, my pain started to increase and my blood pressure started to drop.  The care was wonderful and so attentive.  They checked on me every half and hour.  It just got out of control so quickly.  I know in the back of the doctors mind was the, "I told you so" saying but never once did they say that to me.  At one point on Tuesday morning about 5 am I think I had seven doctors and three nurses in my room.  They finally got my pain under control, gave me some meds for the blood pressure and did some other things I don't even know.  We skipped all the activities I had to do with the treatment on Tuesday and scheduled scan so that I could get a little stronger. I must say the change from Monday evening until Wed morning was amazing.  I was able to get through two 25 minutes each scans and back to my room in an hour resting.  The results of the scans were very good.  The Y90 had great uptake which explains the intense pain.  The doctor explained to me that bone tumors are extremely painful especially when its with someone that is so thin and has no room for the swelling to go. Also the location of the spine and shoulders is the first place the Y90 goes so it explains the pain.  The stressed that this is not normal and actually never saw it this bad.  So please don't be afraid of this treatment.  But they did stress they were very concern.

I have to admit I was so sick but felt that all the prayers where going to work.  I just knew that God was with me.  While writing this blog I think about the journey its been to get me to this treatment.  There is just no way this was not the right choice.  Of course I wish my health was stronger before I could get here but time was not on my side.  Today Dr. Mars came into the room and peeked his head behind the steal wall where my bed laid.  My small suit case was packed and I was dressed with my coat on the bed.  He gave me a big smile and said, "I was afraid of what I was going to see, but so happy to see the same smile I saw on Monday".  I then told him I was ready to go.  He okayed it but said he did not suggest I leave until next week.  But unless things get worse that is not an option for us now.  I really need to get back to good old Pittsburgh. Not to mention the daily cost here are outragous. 

When I got back to the hotel I walked into the room only to be surprised with the largest bouquet of tulips from Holland I have ever seen.  Just gorgeous in the back of the room.  Peter brought them all the way to me.  In the hospital I had a few conversations with one of the nurses who has been searching for his life with God.  One of the things he said to me was that he never sees miracles anymore.  I was shocked and I asked him what he meant.  He said in Jesus's time the miracles where so huge and marvelous.  Well I had to disagree with him, because I see them all the time.  I see them just as big if not bigger then the Bible times.  I think we just have so many distractions we miss them.  Truly Wednesday was a miracle. My being here is a miracle.  This treatment I believe is my miracle.  I just choose to see them and look for them.  I explained that to him but I am not sure he got it. 

After resting a bit when I got back to the room I opened up some emails, only to find out that one of my carcinoid posse and huge advocate for carcinoid community had passed away.  I could not help but feel an overwhelming punch in the gut.  But then after thinking about Steve Murrah fight I felt a sense of pride that we had a man who lead the way for a lot of us.  He tried every treatment out there for years.  Some kept him here longer but he never gave into this cancer.  My sadness for his death turned to what his family must be thinking today, "My husband, my father, my son, my brother and my friend did not quit and paved a road for others fighting this cancer. "  That is why I do what I do.  I want my family, especially Mark and my boys, and friends to say that I never gave up.  I want them to say I did everything I could do and I made a difference doing it for others.  So I stop feeling sorry for Steve and his family because I know that is not what he wanted.  He wanted us to learn from his fight and be happy when he had peace. 

To end this blog I want to tell you that Mark and I did get out for about an hour and grab some real food.  On the way back to the hotel we stop in a sports store so I could pick up my three favorite guys a trinket or two and back to the room we went.  I napped and Mark caught up on some work so he could pay for all this stuff I am putting him through.  Thank you all for your support.  I want to write so much more but I am having trouble keeping my eyes open.  So until tomorrow know that I am so happy to be out.  So thrilled to get through this treatment.  Most of all so blessed to have you all at home for me and my family. 

Love to all,

Sunny