Hyvelle Ferguson-Davis had a slight headache when she was at work one day in January 2014. As the pain grew stronger, she started having blurred vision, so she decided to head home.
The mother of two did not think much of her headache. “I took an aspirin and laid down for a nap,” Ferguson-Davis said.
Unbeknownst to her, she was having a stroke.
After her nap, her daughter noticed she was slurring her speech and called 911. The paramedics suggested that she should go to the hospital because her blood pressure was high, but the busy mom refused.
“I had a schedule and responsibilities. Back then I used to take care of everyone but myself,” Ferguson-Davis recalled.
Shortly after Ferguson-Davis’ foot went numb and her arm started caving in, her husband rushed her to Broward Health Coral Springs where she learned she was having a stroke.
Our multidisciplinary team successfully treated the slow bleed and sent her to the rehabilitation center at Broward Health North for three weeks.
“I was depressed I couldn’t do anything for myself. I had to relearn how to talk and do normal, everyday tasks,” Ferguson-Davis said.
One month after her stroke, Ferguson-Davis started feeling sharp chest pains. This time, she didn’t ignore her symptoms and went to Broward Health Medical Center.
“She was having a heart attack,” said Frank Catinella, M.D., a cardiovascular surgeon with the Broward Health Physician Group. “We rushed her into the operating room and performed a quadruple-bypass surgery.”
During her recovery, Ferguson-Davis learned the importance of nutrition and how it can impact her life. It was tough, but Ferguson-Davis turned her pain into purpose. She founded an organization called Heart Sistas to help underrepresented women in her community learn how nutrition affects diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
“I told her if you don’t get a hold of your life, you’re going to be back here in five years,” Dr. Catinella said.
Ferguson-Davis completely changed her lifestyle. She now grows a variety of vegetables in her own backyard and stopped eating foods that exacerbate her diabetes and hypertension.
“Broward Health gave me hope and a chance at a new life,” Ferguson-Davis said.