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Elbony's story

 Ebony Haywood graduates from therapy


What Elbony Haywood thought was a severe case of heartburn ended up being something much more life-threatening.

Two days after being admitted to Memorial Hermann Cypress, the 21-year-old was having difficulty with balance and walking and her speech was slurred. Doctors thought it was a stroke, but quickly ruled that out along with a list of other possible conditions such as lupus and multiple sclerosis. 

“Multiple tests were run to discover my body was shutting down,” Elbony recalled. “The only one that came back positive was a rare autoimmune condition that they couldn’t identify.”

Elbony was in the hospital for three weeks. Her doctor told her she would need rehabilitation to regain her independence. When she was admitted to Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Cypress, she couldn’t walk and was having difficulty with speech and swallowing.

“It was difficult to get out of bed; my muscles were so weak and my balance was bad—I kept leaning to the right. My swallowing was scary, too, at the beginning,” she said. “The doctor said that Encompass Health Cypress is going to get you back on your feet; they have advanced technology that you need to help you, so I trusted him and came here. He was absolutely right!”

Using technologies such as the LiteGait® and NuStep®, Elbony’s therapy team helped her rebuild her strength and relearn to walk. Speech therapy also used techniques and technologies to help improve her swallow as well as cognition.

“When I got on that LiteGait®, it felt like I was floating and it eliminated the fear that I was going to fall because I was strapped in,” Elbony said. “I felt confident to practice walking and knew that I would get back to being independent again.”

Elbony’s goals were to prove that “God is good and rehab works.” She accomplished both.

After 12 days at Encompass Health Cypress, Elbony walked out of the hospital without assistance and is now looking forward to returning to college. She credits God and her therapy team at Encompass Health Cypress for that.

“This whole journey has built my faith in God,” she said. “To anyone who has doubts about rehab, I’ll tell them do it and do it now—choose Encompass Health Cypress! It is so advanced with the equipment they have, and everyone is a shining light. They will push you at Encompass Health Cypress and make you walk, run and jump again.”