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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scan results

I know many are waiting for the results of my most recent scans.  Thank you all for the prayers.  I have to tell you when I am asked if anyone can do something for me and I ask for pray it is really what I need.  As many of you know,who are fighting carcinoid cancer, the answer to scans are not always straight forward and prises.  Carcinoid is such an odd cancer and one time it shows up so clear on scans and other times it just hides itself.  Hence the Zebra mascot.  So there was a lot that went into interrupting my scans this time.  Then Mark and I had to talk with the boys and figure out a game plan.  Once again not an easy task.  We like to do this with much thought and time.  Of course time is not on my side but I have to careful at just blurting out information that is not all summed up.  My friends and boys sometimes read what they want to read and not what I am actually writing. 

With all that said, the results were mixed.  There is evidence that the Swiss treatment, (Y90), is doing something.  It is still showing attachment to many tumors and some are being invaded.  There is no shrinkage at this time but that not saying it still can't happen.  Unfortunately there are several new lesions in several different places.  Some larger bone mets, explains all the horrific pain, and some small one in my left and only lung.  Which has always been clear and beautiful.  There is also action in the liver again.  However they don't know what that is until they compare those with the Swiss scans.  We are waiting for that.  The scans show the the cancer is speeding up.  But like I stated they are small and the lung is a big organ.  The question is how fast are they growing.  Many times you read about carcinoid cancer as being a slow growing cancer.  That frustrates me because MANY times that is not the case and much of the information on the Internet is outdated now.  My carcinoid cancer has never been slow.  When it is in its growing season is spreads like that bad honeysuckle I had filling my yard as a kid.  When its frozen out is stays stable then once it starts growing again it invades quickly.  My point being I need to take fast action on the new mets that appeared.

We have twp plans of action.  One laid out by Dr. Friedland, my oncologist, and one laid out by Mark and I.  Dr. Friedland changed a lot of my meds.  He put me one a weight gaining drug, I am way below 100 lbs., and wants me to start the chemo drug Sutent.  I am looking for any carcinoid patients that have tried it.  Please email you findings.  It has some nasty side effects and I am a little afraid I am not strong enough for it right now. However, I did go to pick it up and good news it that my insurance covers it.  BAD NEWS is my copayment is $332 a month.  But we are going to pay it, not sure how yet but God provides.   Mark and I are planning on going to see two specialist in the very near future to see what their recommendations are.  One is Dr. Liu in Nashville and the other is the famous Dr. Woltering in New Orleans.  Hopefully we can get in to see them in the next couple of weeks.  I am really worried about making the trip with the condition I am in but once again God will lead us. 

There is more but the above it the most important and most to be concerned about.  I have to say that all the support and love I get has really gotten both Mark and I through days when we have results like these.  I ask for more prays.  I especially need prays for my boys and Mark.  Watching me suffer so has really been a struggle for them.  I sometimes wonder if it would be easier to go into the hospital to get through things when they get bad.  I think its not fair for my boys and Mark to have to see me at my worse.  Not to mention I can not handle the pain at times either.  But Mark refuses to hear of any of that. 

Please pray for our family.  Please pray for pease and acceptance.  Please pray that when it get really bad I have the power to do the whole reach down and whip some fighti.   We will get through this looking like we know what we are doing.  Thank you all for reaching out and please continue it keeps me alive.