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
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
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I am not trying to cushion any news, I just don't want to write inaccurate information. Not to mention Mark and I have not sat down and talked about any options. So as soon as Mark and I are all updated we will talk to everyone about them. I do however ask for prayer while my oncologist, Dr. Friedland, consults with other specialist.
Love you all,
Monday, April 23, 2012
Hope is...the river of life between the shores of love and the bridges that joins the two.
Hope is...the first ray of sunlight in the dawn of each new day.
Hope is...the song of the dogwood that echoes in the dead of winter.
Hope is...the journey to the undiscovered and the safe harbor that awaits your return.
Hope is...a silent street at midnight in the middle of the city.
Hope is...life at the oasis, vision at the summit, and peace in the valley
Hope surrounds you like the mist surrounds the rocky coast; it is with you as you sleep and greets you as you wake.
it is the shirt upon you back, the belt around your waist, the sandal on your foot.and the prayer within your soul.
Remember the nervous flight of the autumin leaf;
Hope is the wind that catches it, carries it, tenders it,
and finally delivers it the rest beside the acorn.
Hope is the art of faith;
it is where theses songs were born
and how they found their wings.
These are words I've wanted to say but don't know how to say them. Hope is all I have to hang onto. Today I had a day of cancer frustration. I went to Hillman to receive my treatment and for a scheduled appointment for my oncologist to discuss my big scan results from Friday. These scans will determine one if the Switzerland treatment has done anything. Two it will hopefully why my pain has increased in the last six months. They are to be sent to Switzerland so that I can plan out my next treatment step. When I got there of course my insurance was not covering a treatment that I have been getting for two years and has always been covered. Which meant until I go home and do the three hour phone calls to straighten it all up, NO TREATMENTS. Then I go to my appointment and the scans have not even been read yet. They want me to wait while they rush a reading. Like I am asking for them to grade a term paper or something. This is my life on film, I was not letting them rush through the reading of them and giving me a half attempt for a report. I have been there and done that show before. It is not reading tea leaves or tarot cards. This is terminal cancer you are looking at. The importance of a great report is what will determine my fight. So we reschedule it all.
I started to get upset and angry that both Mark and I waisted a whole day. Mark taking off work and me struggling in this unexpected freezing tempsI thought about my hope. I felt like nobody who are suppose to be taking care of me had no respect for me or my time. They go on with their lives after the make the typo error for insurance codes or take their time in looking at few scans. They don't see their time as an hour glass like I do....what does it matter if I need to wait. They are not going anywhere. I felt a tear ran down my face. Not a tear of sadden but a tear of defeat. Then I starting thinking about hope. The words above which I read as I waited for Mark to get ready to take me to the appointments start going over in my head. "HOPE SUNNY".....I kept hearing. I looked at Mark who normally would be fuming and cursing. He seemed like he could care less that we waisted our time. I said no more about the day while I wiped me tears. Then I thought, "find something good in this or you will go crazy". I then realized that If I had treatment I would not be able to go to Nolan's basketball game tonight. At that moment I had HOPE.
Whatever the results are I put in God's hands. It's not going to change my love for my children, my toughest fight or my FAITH AND HOPE!!!! So what is a few day. Not to mention I got to go to his game.
I will be getting my results later this week. I promise I will write a post on the results, the next game plan and why my pain is so bad. However it may take me a few days for me to disgust and make plans. Please understand that.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Two rows in front of me is a woman in her 50's I would say. Who knows though she could be in her 20's but cancer ages many? She is in a wheelchair and has a scarf over her bald head. She looks exhausted. She caught me looking at her and we smile at each other. I think she is alone. Over by the door is elderly man smiling from ear to ear. He is drinking that nasty crap they make us drink and he is loving it. It looks like his wife and maybe his son are sitting with him. They too have a smile on their faces but behind it is a worry I can see. He is loving that drink crap. He is holding his wife's hand and leaning over his lap to struck up conversation with his son who I would say is in his late 40's and dressed pretty well too. That man just seems happy to be with his family even though it in the waiting room for cancer scans. Goodness that little old man is an inspiration. His son seems to think so too.
There is a man with a whole group of people with him sitting on the other side of the room. I am listening to them talking to another couple sitting there. They drove four hours to get here for a PET CT SCAN. They must of taken a big van because there is a whole group of them. They seem to be making the best of the situation. It sure is nice to see all those people supporting him. The nurse just called the little old mans name to come to the back. Mr. Kennedy was his name and he jump right up and said, "I'm yours for a while, but my wife wants me back. The girl laughed and his wife shook her head yes and she looked so sad". He hopped right back with the nurse with that same big smile on. I bet he's trying to put a big front on for his wife and son. What a true leader of his family! I looked back over to the son and wife and she is now holding her son's hand. SWEET!!! I hope he gets good news.
I think I am next so I am going to end now. I will not get any results back until next week and I will update with a post. PROMISE. Please pray that I can finish the scan. It so painful for me anymore. I am putting the results in God's hands. What they are they are and I can't worry about them. It's out of my control right now.
Just called me name.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I have to share with you an experience that I had this week with just a simple call to my cell phone company. I have been fighting with my cellular phone company about charges on my bill from Switzerland. To make a long story not so long, I purchased a international plan right before I left for my treatments in Switzerland. It was a plan that was to discount phone calls and text messaging for any international calls I make. I purchased the plan on my entire families phones so that the boys can call me anytime when I was gone and the bill would not blows us away. Well they charged our account but never gave us the discount. My phone bill from Switzerland was outrageous because they did not calculated it correctly. I have called AT&T six times since January and each time I am told I am right and they will credit my account. Well it never happened, so this being my seventh call it is safe to say that someone was getting a "Sunny Smackdown".
After going through the whole ten minute menu of press one for this, press eight for this, press 65 for a sandwich and diet coke, I finally get a live person. Of course now just in this phone call alone I have started to explain the situation three times and then quickly get placed on hold and transferred. I was in horrible pain and completely frustrated by now. A simple call which should take no longer the 10 minutes and is now going on 20 minutes and I have not even talked to the right person yet. Finally another operator answer and before he could say, "Hello my name is John and thank you for calling AT&T, how can I help you?", I immediately ask him to please don't transfer me. Once again explain the situation to John and he kindly says, just like the others, he will take the charges off. As he clicks on the keyboard he asked me how I enjoyed Basel, Switzerland. In a casual conversation I told him fine and he continued to ask more questions like why I chose Basel to travel too. I told him the reason for being there was cancer treatments. He of course, like everyone else, said he was sorry to hear that and then continued to click on the keyboard. after about a minute of him clicking and small talk he then said that he could hear in my voice that I have faith. I paused and said I do.
Then the conversation took a turn to faith and hope. We talked for a minute or two about believing in the impossible and miracles. He asked me if he could have his church pray for me. Of course I am a strong believer in pray and the more the prays the more God hears, so please spread the word. He then told me that he has been through a lot in life and something that he says over and over again is PUSH. I agreed that we should keep pushing but he took it further. PUSH meaning Pray Until Something Happens. I thanked him and joked that I was also going to PUSH that my bill gets corrected too. I really just wanted to end the call because I was exhausted and did not want to talk. At the end of the conversation he wished me blessing and told me that he needed to talk to me. He explained that his brother was just diagnosed yesterday with cancer and he did not know what to say to him. I told him to tell him what he just told me and if says he tells his brother he will pray for him to really pray for him.
He claimed he credited my bill, he wished me good luck and we ended the conversation. When I think about the whole purpose of the phone call it awes me as to what I got out of the call. Since I have been diagnosed I have been praying for the miracle of healing. Over and Over again I read the scriptures that tells about all the wonderful miracles of healing. I know that it is possible. But in the last few weeks I could not help by wonder why its taking so long. Maybe it's not God's will for me to be healed. I have been questioning why I have had so many small prays answered but that one big one has not been answered. When the pain is at its peak its so hard to keep myself from traveling to the dark side. I don't feel sorry for myself or ask why me but I do wonder why my pray for complete healing has not been answered.
After my conversation with AT&T John I realized that in waiting for that big miracle to be healed maybe I sometimes miss the little miracles. Maybe the conversation with John would never have happened if I was healed. I think both John and I needed to talk to each other. Who would of guess that a conversation like this one would had happen at that moment. But it did and it was meaningful to both of us. I would hope that even after I am cured I will still want to help others get through their cancer battles. But maybe God has other plans for me. I also hope that after I am cured I will still be moved by an event like what happen with John. I can tell you that my battle is getting harder then I ever expected. My kids and husband are tired of seeing me suffer. So am ready more then ever to receive my healing. I refuse to believe that it will never happen. I know that my cancer is suppose to be incurable. But I also know that nothing is impossible. I have to hang on to hope or I have nothing else left. I also know that throughout my battle there has been little miracles that are sometimes missed because I want so bad for the big miracle to come. I am going to try to focus my attention on those little miracles and still reach for the BIG ONE.
Please keep my family and myself in your prays. Its been a rough road lately and with our strength we are hanging on. Sometimes I feel like we are very much like that cute poster of the kitten falling and hanging on a rope, written on the poster is Hang In There. That is how we are doing it, if we let go a little down we will go.
With Much Love,