|By Deanna Kirk, Corsicana Daily Sun, Texas|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
They're just those kind of people.
The most recent challenge they're facing is a second kidney transplant for Brad. His first surgery was at age 6, when doctors addressed a kinked ureter (tube between kidney and bladder) and discovered his kidneys were malformed. It was also learned then that the ureter being twisted for so long caused damage to his left kidney.
"In 1982, I went for my football physical, and my blood pressure was high," Brad said. "A blood clot had shut off the blood flow to my right kidney. They tried to fix that, but it didn't work, and I lost function in my right kidney then."
Doctors learned that Brad's left kidney was functioning at two-thirds capacity, which is OK, and told him to go on and live his life as long as it operated, because eventually he would lose it. In 1993, his kidney function fell off and he was placed on dialysis, three times a week, four hours a session, for a period of two years.
"I had a transplant in 1995, and they added a functional kidney from a cadaver donor, which was put in my left front side," he said. "They left the original two in there, but they're only about the size of a raisin now. The new kidney will go in the right front side."
Brad has worked at
Two years ago in
"All those years he was driving a truck, riding with the window down, and sun damage," said Leecia.
"They took the entire outside part of my ear off, then worked on the ear canal, and put it back on," Brad said.
Leecia has battled her own share of troubles, as well. On a trip to
"But they did put me on a stress drug, because stress aggravates my condition," she said. "Now I'm happy all the time, and don't ream out people at the post office!"
At a routine mammogram appointment in
Leecia had a port for chemotherapy put in on
"We like to live on the wild side, adventurous," Leecia joked in 2009. "Don't want to get too comfortable. We like to keep a little drama going."
Through all this, they also took time to care for five canines and raise their niece and nephew, Jordan and Joshua.
Brad's blood and tissue are on file at Baylor, so when his name comes up on the transplant list the organization will match it with the available organ to see if it's a match before ever calling the Arnetts.
"We got our hopes up two different times with the first one," he said. "We drove to
"If my kidney function will stay where it is right now, I'll be fine until I get the transplant. I don't feel bad. My creatinine is not great, but it's okay."
The first time he received a transplant, they had worked to put away money and save up for the time he would be off work, and the medical bills. This time, things are different. Leecia has recently had to be put on disability, since her health does not allow her to work. The company Brad works for is small, and switched their insurance to Obamacare. Their prescription drug bills alone average a minimum of
One friend is putting together a website which will allow them to receive direct deposits from anyone wishing to help into a bank account. Visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/swq4/brad-needs-kidney-transplant. But in order to start the fundraising, there will be a garage sale today at the old
The Arnetts, who are both members of
"Around here, we just get up, put our feet on the ground every morning and go," Brad said. "We're made for each other."
Both Brad and Leecia will turn 50 this year.
"There's nothing I would change about it," Brad said. "I'd go back and do it again ... it was too fun the first time."
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