Over time, she has had four different kidneys; her own; another one from a 12-year-old girl, her third one from her son, Dwayne, and her fourth one from her other son, Timmy.
She had her latest kidney surgery in April of this year at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. As of today, the new kidney from her younger son Timmy is doing well.
“It is still too early to tell if I’m out of the woods yet,” said Hebert, who lives south of Abbeville near Cow Island. “But it looks like things are going well. The kidney is operating well.”
Hebert’s kidney problems began at birth when she was born with only one kidney, something she never knew until she became an adult.
Well, her one good kidney got cancer, so she got a kidney transplant from a 12-year-old girl in 1993. A few years later, she found herself in need of another kidney because the new kidney began getting sick due to medication she was taking because of a fungal infection in her lungs. Eventually, the medication to treat her infection destroyed her new kidney - something she knew would happen.
“It was either take the treatment or die,” she explained why she took the medication in the first place. “What do you choose?”
In need of another kidney quickly, Hebert began looking for a family member for a kidney match. Dwayne came up as a positive match for Hebert in 1998. “I never put any pressure on him. This was something he wanted to do,” she said. “I was against it. I agreed, he agreed and his wife agreed.”
He was 25 years old at the time. Dwayne’s kidney worked perfectly for 14 years, which is the normal expectancy of an organ. Eventually, Dwayne’s kidney became sick and she needed a new kidney. It was impossible to go back to Dwayne because he was down to one kidney. Her youngest son, Timmy, stepped up to the plate and offered his kidney. After tests, it was determined Timmy’s kidney was also a match.
The giving of their kidneys have made her sons a lot closer, she added. They have a stronger bond than ever before.
“When they were growing up, they hated each other and they would fight,” she said. “To see this bond together and help each other, and the love I see between them is great. Dwayne took care of his younger brother, while my husband (Ronnie) was in the hospital with me. It is remarkable to see the bond they have formed. They now look out for each other.
“It is the best Mother’s Day present I could have.”