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, April 15, 2012

Little Miracles

I am sorry for the laps of post.  I have been really trying to control the pain and focus on staying strong.  It's been hard for me to sit at the computer.  I really miss pouring my heart out in this blog. I forgot how therapeutic it is for me.  Yesterday I was discussing with Mark how this bout of pain has really taken me down this time.  I am so exhausted from fighting it that I have no energy to do anything but focus on controlling it.  Through our conversation I told him I felt like everyone Else's lives are moving on and I am just on the outside looking in.  Of course when I start talking that way Mark was instructed many years ago to snap me out of it.  He told me that everyone is missing my posts and no matter how much pain I'm in I need to post.  I knew he was right because I always feel better when I write it all down and then just move on.

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,