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 10, 2013

The 3 Horsemen and One Lone Gladiator

Sunshine before I get into the reason for the title and I open up to whats been on my mind I have to start with I LOVE U...I have a feeling tonights talk may be a bit of an emotional yo-yo so I want to start with a couple of things that are't really connected to the topic but are timely and may at least lesson the burden that I have been carrying for awhile....well you will get always understood me even back in the day when I was only "potential"....I never had to pretend with you...never had to be someone else with you...never had to worry about what if she doesn't get what I am trying to were the red checker pieces to my were the other die to mine making the pair, rolling together in the game of were the paper to my printer....the Diet Pepsi to my Jim Beam....without one the other was not useless but certainly was rendered in a way less than fully a if Noah built the ark and then would have forgot to load the before I go off on a complete tangent lets circle back...

Austen reminded me of you so much today....he got his cast....6-8 weeks...not what he was wanting or expecting to hear...ironically it was getting put on at around the same time most of Plum was coming home from work or school and opening their mail and their Advanced Leader and the article "Carney Overcomes Adversity"....he opened up to what you meant to him...and to what his teammates and the game meant to him....he got your message...he put to bed any fears or concerns that you fought in vain....I wasn't by his side when the interview took place so I had no idea what he said....I was so proud of him and you...he is walking in those concrete footprints...when he got the cast and heard the news he didn't pout or moan....I know he is hurting...but you you he won't use anything as an excuse and dwell on the negatives...damn...I am tearing now....because our Ace has your fire...your spirit...your drive...and will accomplish anything he puts his mind to.....he asked Roz to come over and pray with him...just like you used to...funny because I texted her last night and she said he had already set up seven tonight....WOW....(thanks again were truly an angel on earth for Sunny and now for Austen)....

Logan and Nolan I think are both still fighting that damn bug going around(yes I got them their flu shots)....Logan had me pick him at school at lunch....(yes made sure he had taken his two tests)...and immediately crashed...Nolan is trying to study for both his exams tomorrow but after practice he was so dogged I am worried he may not do so well on math...he doesn't want to postphone to Monday because he has two more and two more on Tuesday....what a trooper...Logan is getting his first dose of High School midterms and so far has held up and done great...not sure if he understands how to study most effectively...but we each have our own way of getting things done...

When people ask me how are the boys holding up I tell them "I guess as good as could be expected"...and thats honestly how I perceive it to be...Austen and Nolan have had basketball everyday except Xmas and New Years and they have been so busy and around friends and teammates that I don't really have a long window to catch up with them...when I do ask them I get the teenage boy brush off..."dad I am dad I don't need to talk..."...well you get the drift...they seem to be OK all in all so do I push????  Logan comes home and is sort of in a funk at times...but I don't know if its just Logan or you...he was always the tough middle child to read so I am not going to punch the counseling hotline just yet because he is doing his homework (half-assed like he always did)...he is doing what I ask around the house...he is really gotten into going the hoop games in student section...he is no different than I wish soccer would have been on so he would have something to do afterschool because I can't tell honestly if his funk is just Logan without soccer or Logan without Sunny and soccer...and don't even know how he is the king of pretending to not hear when questioned about anything and then gives the one word answer track that would have made Nixon or Clinton I keep at him subtly and will stay acutely tuned into any changes...

Together the three of them are carrying themselves with complete dignity and grace....they are going on....certainly in public and to the extent they open up to me...(but again I am watching keenly for any unspoken behavior changes...none yet)...they have really stepped up through their pain and put their "gamefaces" on....that mask can be a soothing short term disquise or a long-term path to angst and unresolved I I am watching and talking and praying...but I am not going to overact...I am not going to say they are too normal you need to get them counseling...BS...there is no script for this we are writing and editing it as we go by day...hour by hour...Ace has plenty of friends and Kylee to talk too...Nolan has ms. sara...Logan is the one who I know uses the videogames with buddies to interact but I would feel much more comfortable if he was more outgoing..but that is just his style...always I can't yell at him or demand counseling if he is just being Logan...So the 3 carney boys, get up, go to school,  practice,  or come home, and then text , talk,  game, whatever with their buddies,  their teachers,  coaches, teammates...and they have made us proud....they are involved...they have company....they have each other when need be...I am so grateful and at peace with that part of it or at least as much as can be expected...

Where I struggle with still is on my end....I have jumped back into work and its busy...but its so hard to have this office/home to myself after 7:30...every morning...I thought I might be used to it by now but I would be lying if I said it doesn't really suck....I am a social used to bust my chops about that..and its great to talk on the phone to clients and candidates...and interview and qualify etc...its no different than ever on that account....but its in between the calls...its when I hang up knowing I just got one...or got a yes...or got a new client....its when I lose one for some dumbass reason that maybe I missed maybe not...its those moments of my day that I would bounce up the stairs and interrupt whatever you were doing(at risk of smackdown I know)....and share...and you would listen...and always knew what to had a sales background too....more importantly you had an MBA in were the one I celebrated the little victories with....and you were the one I brainstormed with over the thats it...I talk to the dog...myself sometimes pretending its you...(and you know I am only half joking)...I really miss having my Sunny to share this with....

So the house is mine until Logan comes home....I can tell you sometimes I swear I hear your voice...laughing on the phone...or yelling Mark...because you need some help....when does that stop...does it stop....I leave TV's on....not real loud but if I want to walk room to room on phone call I am not hitting the aural Twilight Zone...Its not even a matter of crying...its like I am that kid in the corner of the playground that sits by himself and waits for the lunch bell to ring so he can go back into class....I am the kid who everyone disses on the bus by sliding over to the edge of their seats and then utlimately goes and sits in the small seat by the driver...I am the guy at the Disney hotel who is sitting there on his I-Pad while around him the lobby bustles with families and laughter...I am the one who feels alone in a crowd....I go to places for lunch and to the gym at different times...because at least there are familiar faces...who know me...who I can talk to....we were so close that when you left I had to replace almost 24 hours of Sunny time...and you know what ....its so fricking hard to do...

I don't know how exactly to express the loneliness I feel....I am not the "Bird lady feeding pigeons in Market Square from her lunch...I am not losing my mind...but I did lose my Sunny....and that has left a crater in my day....and in my I am glad the boys have school...that they have the chance to socially interact all day...I wish the same in a big way...I was not wired to be a lone gladiator...fighting the grieving process and trying to keep things normal by myself...thats not me...never was you know pray....I love you so much and I am not doing this to bring you down....and yes we have great friends who offer to stop by etc...but what I am talking about is the day...I have to realize that you are gone from not just my heart but from my home/office....because nobody will replace one can....I miss you so damn much....the little things...the hugs..the atta boys...the you missed that one dumbass...I miss it all...I miss....

Sorry have to stop now...this is painful...I love you