Grapeland man's 2nd kidney transplant gives him new lease on life

GRAPELAND, TX (KTRE) - A Grapeland man suffering from kidney disease is recovering from his second kidney transplant this month.

Earl Hyatt received his first kidney more than 30 years ago and is grateful to have a second donor provide him with another life saving gift. Four years ago, Hyatt's transplant failed him.

"I had my first transplant back in 1981 and it lasted 28 years. I got it from my brother," Hyatt said.

For many years, Hyatt has been on dialysis, but today, he's surviving without it.

"When you have no other way to make it, dialyses is what keeps you alive," Hyatt said. "I've been really, really fortunate because I got a second transplant; most people don't get that."

A few decades ago, the infectious disease scarlet fever took over his kidney.

"Back in I guess 1980, I started gaining a lot of water weight," Hyatt said. "Finally, I went to a doctor, and he told me one of my kidneys was quitting."

Hyatt's doctor said he was a good candidate for a second kidney transplant nearly 30 years later.

"This was a second opportunity for him to get a life saving gift," said Dr. Steven Potter, East Texas Medical Center's program director of transplants.

Four weeks ago, Hyatt received another kidney.

It was the 200th transplant surgery Potter has performed since he reactivated the transplant program at ETMC in Tyler in 2008.

"It just shows you there's still good people out there," Hyatt said. "You know you hear all these bad things every day; it's time we hear the good things. And the good things are there are good, compassionate people out there that do want to help people."

Not only is Hyatt grateful for organ donor, he's built a great relationship with the medical staff at ETMC that has taken care of him over the years.

"You know because of his transplant medications, and monitoring his kidney function, and lots of other things he comes to see me on a regular bases," Potter said.

The Grapeland man is accepting his new kidney, and things are getting easier for the former Golden Gloves boxer.

"I feel so much better; I started walking again," Hyatt said. "I'm up to a mile and a quarter. I know that doesn't sound like a lot."

Hyatt says the four years of daily torture is over, and he's happy to have a new outlook on life. He will continue to have routine checkups at ETMC in Tyler to make sure he doesn't reject his new organ. Hyatt is continuing to exercise and enjoy things he couldn't do just a few months ago.

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