What an Exciting Day!

13 Jan

So look what came to Charlie in email.

Dear Mr. Shively,

The American Kidney Fund appreciates your interest in our Fifth Annual Kidney Action Day on Capitol Hill. We would like to invite you to join us March 2014 in Washington, DC.

We hope you will accept our invitation. Please email Nina DiPadova to accept your invitation by January 13, 2014. Once we hear from you, we will begin to discuss travel and lodging information. Please note, we will coordinate your travel for you to arrive into Washington, DC the morning of March 4, 2014 and begin advocacy training that afternoon.

Because of your advocacy efforts, we continue to create awareness and help make a difference for individuals and families with, or at risk of developing kidney disease.

Sincerely,

Nikia Okoye

Director of Government Relations

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK CHARLIE’S ANSWER WAS???   YES!!!!!!!!!!  He is so excited. He’s never been to the capital before.  He keeps saying “we’re going to Washington”  Such excitement!  It’s going to be a fun trip as well as  a learning trip. He is looking forward to getting to know other advocates and hopefully having the opportunity to meet with some of the members of congress and let them know about the things that are a problem for kidney patients and their families. I am very proud of Charlie. He has been given several opportunities to speak with in the last few months and has done very well each time.  What better person to be an advocate than someone who has first hand knowledge of the disease and what it can do to you and to those you love.  Please keep him in prayer as this time draws closer.  We actually also got a phone call from the American Kidney Fund as we were on the way to go get Charlie’s books for the new semester which will start next week.  

We did make it to the school and were able to get the books and all of the supplies he should need (at least everything I could think of) to the tune of $446.  Books are SO EXPENSIVE.  I sure hope we use them ALOT this semester.  One of the books was $167.  I looked for the gold leaf or the engraved pages or something, but nope, it’s just a paperback text book. We are both looking forward to the adventures that this semester will bring.  We know there is going to be a ton of writing in the English Comp class but Charlie  made it through Comp 1 with an A so hopefully he will do well this semester too.  He also has a speech class, that one should be interesting. He does well with public speaking so we aren’t real worried about that one.  The third class he has is Humanities, now that one may be a bit challenging, but I think we are both ready for it.  I am seeing LOTS of note taking this semester and perhaps we will record the lectures too, we’ll see.

As usual we are still waiting and praying for the kidney to come.  God is in control and we are patiently waiting for HIS timing with this. We are ready any time that he is.  Each day we awaken with the question “will today be the day?”  Who knows.  It’s been a long 9 years but Charlie has taken it all in stride. He is more than ready to vacate his dialysis chair and live a more fulfilling life. It would be good to be able to plan a vacation without having to schedule dialysis treatments during it, but if that’ s what’s got to be done then we do it. Look at all of the new people we can meet at a new dialysis unit.  Each of them has a story, a personal walk and each of their stories brings them closer together.

We are trying to put together a cookbook to be used as a fundraiser. We are asking if anyone has any healthy recipes that they would like to contribute please email them to Sherrie at gsservant @gmail.com  she will compile them and we will let people know when the book is put together.

Thanks again for prayers and notes. We love each of you and wish you a prosperous and blessed new year~

Charlie & Sherrie

Finally We Can Breathe

29 Dec

Hi folks,

Been a while since I have written, sorry about that. We had so much happening here with Charlie’s finishing the semester and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sure seems like time has just flown by and I was just standing still.  Let’s see if I can back up a bit and fill  y’all in.

I think when I last wrote Charlie had gotten his award for Honors at school.  Let me pick it up from there. First we celebrated Thanksgiving.  That was amazing. Charlie and I had been on TV in an interview regarding the sidewalks in San Antonio and how they are so badly maintained. The gist of the story was that the sidewalks really are not disable friendly.  Well, there was a man who owns a BBQ place, he saw the story and contacted the news station and wanted to cater our Thanksgiving meal. What a blessing that was.  He got in touch with us right before Thanksgiving and we told him we would be going to our daughter’s home.  He asked how many people, we told him, and on Thanksgiving day he brought us a BBQ turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans. It was absolutely delicious.

The first week of December was finals for Charlie. We had 3 papers and and exam to complete and then we were done.  It was a very long semester and we both were definitely ready for a break!  Charlie ended the semester with an A and 2 B’s.  We are now on break until January 22nd.  Next semester will bring with it a whole new set of challenges, so we are resting up and gearing up for it.  Charlie will be taking English Comp 2, Speech, and Humanities.  We will definitely be getting the books early so we can start reading chapters and seeing what will be coming up!

On December 8th we had our first official fundraiser for Charlie’s kidney transplant. I made about 15 dozen meatballs, and I don’t even know how many gallons of sauce, garlic butter, salad and two cakes.  I had a ton of help with serving and decorating and manning different stations. It was wonderful.  It was also a success. We fed what felt like a zillion people! My feet and back let me know that we really did WORK that day. Now we are in the process of collecting recipes to try and create a cookbook with diabetic, heart and kidney friendly recipes. These will be put together to make a cookbook to sell as a fundraiser. If any of you have a recipe you would be willing to share I would more than welcome it. Please email the recipe to indutime@gmail.com

On December 11th we finally started receiving my Social Security.  PRAISE GOD, now we can pay bills and buy food and we have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel….and it wasn’t a train!!!!   It’s good to be able to have a bill collector call and be able to tell them we can set up a payment plan.  I look forward to when all of them are finally paid off and we don’t get anymore calls.  We have been incredibly blessed over the last two and a half years and are thankful for all of the love and support that all have given us.  We will also finally be able to repay all of those who helped us out during our journey. I can honestly say that I am glad that we will no longer need the assistance of Food Stamps – now someone else in need will have the assistance available.  Another PRAISE was that I also became eligible for Medicare.  I had originally been told it would be 2 years from now, but because my case took two and a half years I qualified on November 1st.  I now have a Medicare Advantage plan which will begin on Jan 1st and I will be able to have a real doctor to follow my heart and kidney problems.  This will be so much better than going to the ER when I get so bad I can’t deal with things anymore.  The really great thing about it is that Charlie’s nephrologist and cardiologist have agreed to take me on as a patient. We are both thankful for that as we both like those doctors a lot. They have been great with Charlie’s care.

Next was Christmas.  Oh my, it was wonderful to be able to get the grandchildren gifts this year.  We spent the day with family and friends at our daughter’s home.   Three of our grandchildren were there with us. I so wish there was a way to get them all together for a holiday. Maybe some day!  I cooked a turkey, some dressing and made Charlie his giblet gravy.  There was so much other food there one didn’t know what to eat first.  There were also goodies galore: cake, cookies, candy, dips, chips, soda.  It was a feast.   Everyone ate and opened gifts, the children had a ball together.  It’s such fun to watch them play, they all get along so well together.  I love gatherings with family.

In between all of these things we had doctor’s appointments and the usual dialysis days.  It’s been a long year, but a good one and we are ending on a positive note.    Even though we are ending on a positive, we do have to honestly say that we are a bit disappointed.  At the beginning of the year everyone assured Charlie that this would be the year for the kidney, needless to say that hasn’t happened.  It’s hard because this year we have seen 3 other people get kidneys.  We are very happy for all of them, but each time someone gets one it saddens Charlie a bit more.  It’s been 9 years now since he went on the kidney transplant list and 9 years on dialysis.  Each dialysis day exhausts his body more.  We so want to travel and see our grandchildren and siblings but there is just so much that has to be done to do that.  We have to schedule dialysis everywhere we go, and that entails contacting the clinic on the other end and making sure his dialysis unit communicates with that one so that they have all the information they need to be able to do his treatment.  It also means having to have someone willing to take him to and bring him home from dialysis.  Then you have to have time for him to rest so that we can have a decent visit with everyone. It’s not an easy lifestyle.  We are going to try and make it to see everyone this year.  We have a grandchild that is about to turn 1 and we haven’t even met him yet.  There is another granddaughter due to be born in March, hopefully we will be able to see her too.

Well, that’s about it for now.  Please continue to pray for the kidney….maybe 2014 will finally be the year.

Blessings to all,

Charlie & Sherrie

 

What An Exciting Week

21 Nov

Honors Award Continue reading

Charlie the Star

8 Nov

Hi Everyone.  Nope we haven’t disappeared, just been incredibly busy with school, doctors appointments, church, illnesses…..so much going on.

Let’s see if I can fill you in on some of the things that have happened since I last posted. Charlie has been in the school newspaper and on TV  both times advocating for the disabled.  Here is the link to the Newspaper Article, it’s the School Newspaper, The Ranger  http://issuu.com/theranger/docs/combined_pdfs_10-4-13_revised?e=0/5180435

This article was in the paper on October 4th.  He was also on TV earlier this week, here are the links for that: On your desktop: –> http://bit.ly/1hhUtQk
ON your phone: –> http://bit.ly/1b3XApV

Charlie also got an email from the college.  Each year they look at the Spring and Fall semester prior to the current one and see what everyone’s GPA is. Students with a 3.5 or better get to walk the stage and receive a certificate for their achievement. Charlie had a 3.5 so he will be walking the stage on November 20th!  What a surprise that was.

Things have been going okay.  Charlie had trouble at dialysis and bled for 3 hours.  He had to go for an angiogram on Wednesday.  The found a narrowing in one of his arteries, it was fixed with a balloon treatment. He seemed to be doing okay after the surgery and no bleeding at dialysis yesterday.  We were all set to go back to school today (he was out sick on Monday, procedure Wednesday) and Charlie got sick as we were heading to the door. We didn’t go anywhere today.  Hopefully we will have better luck on Monday!

We have scheduled our first fund raiser for Sunday, December 8th at 12:30.  We are having a spaghetti dinner.  Spaghetti with or without meatballs (for those who don’t do meat), Salad, Dessert, and choice of coffee, tea or lemonade. $5 per person, $12 per family.  You can purchase your tickets by contacting Sherrie at (210)859-8085.  To purchase your tickets online go to: http://bit.ly/SpaghettidinnerCharlie

Well, that’s pretty much it for now.  Thanks for sticking with us through all of this.  Please continue to pray for the kidney.  If you know anyone who might be interesting in donating one please give them our contact information.

Blessings to each of you.

Charlie & Sherrie

Where Did the Day Go?

10 Oct

Yesterday started very early. Charlie didn’t feel well so he woke me up around 3:45.  He apparently hadn’t slept all night and his equilibrium was very off. He was stumbling when he tried to walk. He laid back down for a while and then felt a bit better.  He decided to go to school anyway and thankfully as the day went along the problem lessened.  The day felt like it sped right by but when I stopped and looked at the day we didn’t really do anything different.  The only thing I can figure is that we started the day an hour late.  That caused us to miss the one hour break that we usually have between the first two classes.  I suppose that could be what made it feel like it was a little rushed.  It was a good day and ended with us at an open forum with the President of San Antonio College.  Charlie had several questions that he presented to the president, all of which seemed to be answered pretty well.  After that it was off to the church for dinner, prayer meeting and Bible study.  We were both so tired that we fell asleep when we got home.

Today was dialysis day.  Nothing remarkable happened.  Thankfully he did not bleed today. After dialysis it was lunch and then a nap.  Then dinner and we watched X-Factor and then Glee (not very exciting huh?).  Amazing the talent they find on the shows like X-Factor, American Idol, and America’s Got Talent.  It’s also amazing how many people go to those auditions believing they are really good and are upset when they are told they aren’t. I sometimes wonder if some of them aren’t just planted there.  Glee was kind of sad.  It was a memorial episode for Cory Monteith. Everyone said their goodbyes.  There was some good music tonight. It made us stop and think about the fact that you just never know when your time is going to be up.  It’s important to remember that while we are here we should live our lives to the fullest and not worry about the little stuff.  Life can throw a lot of junk at you but you need to know how to handle it and then throw it right back.  Charlie and I have both lived through a lot of crud in our lives, we are both very thankful that we know God and that we can rely on Him for what we need.

Many of you have been with us since the first post on March 27, 2011.  All of you have become like family and know what we have been through in just the 19 months of this blog.  We appreciate all of you and those who are new to the blog – Welcome to our family. Please take the time to read what’s happened since the beginning.  It’s been an interesting life.  Charlie and I love each of you and really appreciate all of the prayers and the encouragement you have given us. Please continue to keep them coming because both of us need them.  Y’all are great!

Today we pray blessings for each of you.  Take care and keep visiting.

Blessings to all,

Charlie & Sherrie

 

Kidney Action Day

7 Oct

Hi Y’all.  Here are a few pictures of Kidney Action Day San Antonio.  Charlie did a fantastic job sharing his story.  I have been trying to figure out how to get the video off of my camera but have not been successful. As soon as I can get it I’ll let y’all know.  Until then here are some pictures.

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Even the Spurs Coyote showed up to learn about Kidney disease!

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Here’s Charlie talking with a fellow kidney patient.

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Lot of information on diet and even free measuring cups and spoons. University of Texas Health Science Center Nursing program students came and helped with Education and also free screenings.

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Many, Many people showed up for the free Health screening.  One could be screened for Diabetes, Cholesterol, Kidney Disease and also get educated on diet and exercise.  It was a great out reach event.

What an incredible day it was.  There was so much information and lots of entertainment. Dancers, Zumba, Hula Hoop contests.  Charlie had a great time and really enjoyed being able to go on stage and tell people his story and let them know how important it is to make sure that you follow up with the doctor once you have been diagnosed and make sure to do what they tell you.  It was a very good day.

Blessings to all.

Charlie & Sherrie

 

Charlie’s Story

5 Oct

Good Afternoon y’all.  What a beautiful day here in San Antonio.  Sun is shining, blue sky, fluffy clouds, birds singing and butterflies are fluttering. God is truly awesome.

Well, let’s see what we did this week. Charlie started the week out well. Dialysis went well all week. School went pretty well.  On Wednesday Charlie did a presentation at school in his Theatre appreciation class (that’s the last entry on the blog). Yesterday he was on the local morning news show. Charlie loves the folks at the station, so much so that he turns them on before he even turns the lights on in the morning. If you would like to see it you can go to KABB.com and in the search box type in Event Helps Combat Kidney Disease. It will bring up a new page and on the left side you will see the same title. Click on it and you can watch the interview.

Charlie is an advocate for the American Kidney Fund.  They are having a Kidney Action Day event here in San Antoinio, at the AT&T center tomorrow (October 6th) from 9am to 3pm .  Charlie has been asked to share his story at Noon. If you have a chance to go to the event look for him. There will be entertainment, Healthy food demos and you can get tested for FREE to see if you have kidney disease or are at risk.  That alone makes it worth going!   Everyone should get tested. Especially if you have a history of diabetes or kidney disease anywhere in you family history.

When Charlie finished his interview we went to school. As we were walking the path to the student center we met a person putting out this weeks issue of the school newspaper.  Lo and behold, there’s Charlie on the front page.  Charlie also advocates for the disabled students at his school.  He has been doing that for a while now.  The article is about the problem of access to some of the places on the campus.  If you would like to read the article you can go to http://www.theranger.org/easier-wheelchair-access-to-mcallister-needed-1.2839236#.UlA4PwfRgcc.email

This has been an exciting week.  Charlie got a call from our daughter Emily and found out that our new little bundle of joy that is due to be here end of March – beginning of April is a BOY!  Little Ava will have a new brother.  How exciting.  That brings the tally to 4 boys and 5 girls.  Yep 9 grandchildren.  Each one of them brings us such joy. They all have such unique personalities.  It’s amazing.  God really has blessed us with the gift of being grandparents.  It’s a wonderful job.  There is nothing like being able to talk to your grandchildren about all of the amazing things God has done in our lives and help them to know how they can use all that God has for them.  We LOVE being Grandparents.

Charlie’s foot seems to be recovering well.  He has been walking on it a bit with the shoe and so far so good.  We just need to keep a good eye on it so that it doesn’t get bad again.  We would still like to see him start the new year without the wheelchair.  We’ll see.  All in God’s time, not ours.

Well, I suppose I have written enough for now.  I am going to take pictures at tomorrow’s event.  Maybe if we are lucky my camera will record part of the event.  I think I remember how to do it, but I haven’t recorded with it in quite a while so we shall see!  Either way I will post something after we get home.

Please pray for the following:  1. A Kidney.  2. The event tomorrow and Charlie’s presentation. 3. Healing of the foot.  4. Finances.  5. Fundraising.

Blessings to all.

Charlie & Sherrie

Presenting Charlie……

3 Oct

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Here’s Charlie, all dressed up for his presentation in Introduction to Theatre class.  What a handsome guy, huh? He did a great job.  He had a great group to work with.  Thanks Michelle, Gina and Lorraine it was great working with y’all.

Yesterday was a good day.  Charlie did really well with his presentation.  He loves his theatre class.  The instructor is great. He has a quality that many of the instructors do not.  He cares about his students and show it.  Charlie was blessed to be able to be in this professor’s class in the Spring semester before he got sick.  He was very pleased when he registered for classes for this semester and this professor’s class was still available.  If any of you are looking to take a speech or theatre class at San Antonio College try to get in Professor Charles Falcon’s class. You will be blessed by the experience.

At the end of class yesterday Charlie got a call from Washington, DC.  It was from someone associated with the American Kidney Fund.  They asked him to do a live interview on the KABB morning show on Friday morning at 7:15.  He has agreed to do it and is looking forward to it.  Charlie turns that morning show on before he even turns the lights on in the morning.  I guess this is Charlie’s week to shine.  On Friday TV and on Sunday he will be speaking at the AT&T Center for the American Kidney Fund Kidney Action Day.  All of this in an effort to get the word out about kidney disease prevention.  He is really looking forward to the Sunday even too.  At both events he will be sharing his story, talking about kidney disease and diabetes and talking about dialysis. He has such a wealth of information and experience, it will be great for him to share.

Well, I suppose I should go.  This morning I am doing the sinus thing and looking at the screen is kind of difficult. I think I will go try and take a nap before it’s time to start getting lunch ready for Charlie.  Today is dialysis day so we’ll see how he does. The last couple of sessions have been pretty good, I think the tech finally has gotten the routine down and so Charlie isn’t bleeding profusely at the end.

Prayer requests for today:  1. A Kidney.  2. Fundraising.  3. Finances.  4. School. 5. Foot.  6. Speaking engagements.

Praying blessings to all.

Charlie & Sherrie

 

 

Things are Looking Brighter

1 Oct

Hi y’all.  Well we went to the wound care doctor today. It was comforting to have Charlie’s regular doctor back.  It’s so hard trying to explain where you have been with a wound to someone brand new.  The doctor took a look at it and said it’s looking good.  He said Charlie could go back to his shoes instead of the air cast.  That made Charlie a very happy man.  Now we just need the other callus to behave.  I think we need to make a trip to the podiatrist and have her take a look at the new shoes and inserts. Perhaps she will have the magic answer for us.  Charlie’s skin on that foot is just so very fragile.

We had good news about my social security claim. We got the letter from the judge today stating that he has approved the disability claim and that I am disabled. They did use the onset date of May 2011.  So now I have to wait for Social Security to contact me.  The letter says that could take up to 60 days. We can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train!!!! Praise God.

School in tomorrow. Charlie had to memorize an introduction to a play.  It is a group project. He speaks tomorrow in Introduction to Theatre.  It will be interesting. I am sure he will do just fine.  This is his week to speak.  He will be speaking at the AT&T Center on Sunday for an American Kidney Fund event. It’s a Kidney Action Day.  He will be sharing his story.  That should be a fun day too.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’ll let you know how the speaking engagements go.  In the meantime pray for him.

Pray for: 1. Kidney.  2. Foot healing.  3. School.  4. Fundraising. 6. Finances. 7. School.

Thanks y’all.  Your prayers and words of encouragement are what gets us through the day.

Blessings to all!

Charlie & Sherrie

The Proposal

28 Sep

Charlie’s latest English assignment was to write a Narrative Essay on an “aha” moment in his life.  He chose to write about his decision to propose to me and how he did it.  It was fun writing it as we relived some moments and talked about it.  Anyone who would like to take a look at it can go to YouTube and type in Charlie’s Proposal to Sherrie.  It was taped because only one of our children and her family were able to be here for the momentous occasion.  It was put on YouTube because both of us have families living out of state and we wanted to share it with them.

Charlie is doing pretty well in school, with the exception of the Listening Quizzes in Music Appreciations.  He does well on the tests as they are multiple choice.  The Listening Quizzes are short quizzes where he has to listen to excerpts of music that the professor plays, then he has to answer a question about it.  Things such as the name of the composer or the name of the piece. For some reason those quizzes have been difficult for him.  He has gotten better at being able to identify instruments in the pieces.

It was an okay week this week.  Charlie was sick on Wednesday but is doing much better now.  He had some kind of a stomach bug and slept the majority of the day.  The rest of the week went well.  Friday was kind of weird because we got our early to go home and take a Music Appreciation test that had to be done online.  All quizzes and tests for that class are done online.  No big problems at dialysis this week which was great.

The American Kidney Fund from Washington, DC called Charlie again on Wednesday and asked him to speak on Sunday, October 6th, at the Kidney Action Day event here in San Antonio.  It will take place at the AT&T Center.  They want him to talk about Kidney disease and share his story. He said yes so that’s on the books for that day.  Not sure what time he is speaking but when we find out I will share that information with y’all.  It’s exciting and he is really looking forward to it.

His foot is doing okay.  Haven’t looked at it today yet.  Hopefully all is still well under the dressing.  We just need that to heal up and stay healed.  It’s so disappointing that it opened again. The air cast is so awkward for Charlie.  Earlier this week he was stepping up on the sidewalk and wound up down on one knee. I told him that he didn’t have to propose again.  🙂 He got up but he seems to have a balance issue when he’s wearing it.  Hopefully he won’t be in it very long.  He sees his wound care doctor on Monday so we can see what the plan is going to be.

We have church in the morning, choir has started back up for Charlie and he is looking forward to singing again. Sunday School is always a pleasure.  We are studying the book of Daniel and then we are going to start on Revelation.  It’s been interesting.  We had our movie night last week and it went pretty well.  Next month we will show “The Book of Esther”, I hope those of you who are here in the area will consider coming.  It’s FREE.  This ministry means a lot to Charlie and he is trying to figure out how we can have better attendance. Anyone have any ideas?

That’s pretty much it for now.  Hope each of you have had a great week and pray that this week is full of blessings for all of you.

Please pray for the following:  1. Charlie’s foot.  2. Charlie’s kidney.  3. School.  4. Finances. 5. Fundraising.

Blessings to all.

Charlie & Sherrie

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