Robert Shivley aka “Charlie”, is a Christian man who was born in Columbia, SC. He was married to Sherrie on July 31, 2011. They currently live in San Antonio, TX. Charlie is the father of 2 daughters, Melissa and Emily. Both are married and have children. Melissa is married to Bobby and they have 2 daughters, Kailey and Samantha. Emily is married to Jon and they have a daughter, Ava. He also has 2 step children Wayne who is married to Jacqueline and has 4 children, Ashlyn, Isabella, and Jonathon and Zacchaeus. Kimberly who is married to Micheal and has a son, Dalton.
He was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 1990. From 1990 to 2005 he battled the disease but was rather non compliant. He didn’t always have the medication that he needed and that played into the worsening of the disease. He began losing his sight in 2003 when he was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy. He got progressively worse and was totally blind in 2005. Prior to becoming totally blind, Charlie led a very active life, he was an avid sky diver, rock climber, did many white water rapids runs, enjoyed painting and photography and he was a fire fighter and paramedic in Columbia South Carolina.
At the same time that he went blind he was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). It was then that he was placed on dialysis and his road to needing a kidney began. Charlie has now been on dialysis for 8 years and on the Kidney Transplant list for the same amount of time.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning, for the last 8 years Charlie has spent 3 1/2 hours in the dialysis chair. He gets up at 5am and gets to dialysis at 6:30. On dialysis day he is gone until around noon and then comes home and eats lunch. He is very worn out so he usually lays down for a nap after lunch and sleeps until dinner time. He very much looks forward to getting a kidney and being able to do things without having to schedule it all around dialysis. Right now everything he does is scheduled around dialysis, that includes his school schedule, all doctor appointments, events, movies, date nights…and the list goes on. It also includes going home to South Carolina to see family, without having to schedule with a dialysis unit there.
In addition to his ESRD and the blindness, the Diabetes has also caused him to develop Coronary Artery Disease and Peripheral Vascular Disease, and neuropathy in his feet and legs. He had to have a double by-pass in August of 2011 because two arteries in his heart had become 100 percent and 80 percent occluded with plaque. In January and February of 2012 the arteries in his legs had to be cleaned of plaque. This summer he will have to have both eyes removed as they are dying and causing him great pain. Living with all of the complications means living with many restrictions. There’s having to schedule everything around dialysis days. Checking your sugars multiple times a day. Giving yourself insulin shots at each meal and bedtime. Constant monitoring of feet for ulcers or sores. Doctor appointments for heart, kidney, feet…..and the list goes on. As you can imagine the bills that go along with all of these aliments are never ending as are the bills for medications.
When asked if there was one thing that he could go back and do all over again what would it be? Charlie’s response was “take my Diabetes seriously”. His hope is that people will see him and where he is now and not ignore the disease. He would like to be a positive example of how to live with the Disease and the complications, so that those who are diagnosed can see that there are things you can do even if you are disabled.
Charlie is a wonderful Christian man who maintains a pretty positive attitude considering all that he is dealing with. Even with all of the negative forces at work around him he still relies on God to help him with any issues that are put in his path. He is currently a student at San Antonio College, where he is taking all of his main courses and then will transfer to Wayland Baptist University on his road to becoming a pastor. In addition to his schooling he has been very busy. In January of 2012 he started a movie ministry. The ministry shows free, family friendly movies to the community one Saturday a month. It has given him great joy to be able to do something positive in the community. He also joined the church choir last year and has been given the privilege of being selected as a Yoke Fellow (Deacon in training) at his church. If anyone is interested in talking with Charlie about Diabetes or Kidney failure please email to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be happy to share his insight with you individually or to a group.