Write Your Book



a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

I'm Stacy Ennis,

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Episode 129 | From purpose to platform, with heart attack survivor and nurse Kisha Stewart

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I'm a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

Hi, I'm Stacy


If you’ve been part of my community for any length of time, you know that health and wellness are a massive part of my life. So when I met this week’s guest, Kisha Stewart, I knew I had to have her on the podcast. Kisha is a wife, mother of three, nurse, heart attack survivor, and a national advocate for heart health dedicated to improving the quality of cardiovascular health care for everyone. Since her heart attack, she has conducted extensive research about the specific health risks that women, particularly Black women, face.

Along with talking about Kisha’s mission—health care equity and heart health education—we also talk about how she went from discovering her purpose to building a successful platform to scale her influence.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How Kisha went from surviving a heart attack at 31 to becoming the national spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA)
  • What heart attack symptoms young women should look for
  • How to confidently advocate for yourself in the doctor’s office
  • Needed systemic changes to achieve health care equity
  • Practical steps Kisha took to grow her platform—including writing a book—that helped her scale her influence

Today, Kisha educates and inspires others to improve heart health through lifestyle changes and is a fierce advocate for systemic changes in the health care system to guarantee equity and social justice for all.

Listen to this week’s episode—it’s a great one!

Learn more about Kisha:

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Transcripts for Episode 129

These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.

Kisha: It’s hard to change because for so long in medicine, so many people are trained that certain cultures react a certain way. We have to throw all of that out of the window. We can’t do that anymore. Cultures change. People change. We’re living in a day where women are finding their voice and speaking up. The generation, like my grandmother’s generation, where they saw whatever authorities said was it and they were never going to question anything at all. That’s gone. We have to question everything because our lives depend on it. And we need more people to just speak up. We need more people to share their experiences so that way we can force change. The only way to force change is to talk about it.

Stacy: Welcome. I am so excited about this week’s podcast episode. If you have followed my work for any length of time, you know that health and wellness is a really important part of all of the work that I do. In fact, the early part of my career I spent working with a Nobel Prize winner in medicine. I worked at a scientific journal. I mean, I’ve spent so much of my career in health and wellness.

Stacy: So when this week’s guest came on to talk specifically about heart health, I knew that we had to welcome her on. She has such a powerful story. So I’m going to introduce you now to Kisha. Kisha Stewart is a wife, mother of three, nurse, heart attack survivor, and a national advocate for heart health dedicated to improving the quality of cardiovascular health care for everyone. Since her heart attack in 2011 at the age of 31, she has conducted extensive research about the specific health risks that women, particularly black women, face.

Stacy: A dynamic, nationally recognized speaker on ways to improve heart health through lifestyle changes, and a fierce advocate for systemic changes in the healthcare system to guarantee equity and social justice for all, Kisha, a nurse with a unique perspective and a survivor on a mission, was a national spokeswoman chosen in 2022 by the American Heart association to educate the public about the risks of cardiovascular disease. Kisha, welcome. I’m so excited about our conversation today.

Kisha: So am I, Stacy. Thank you so much for having me.

Stacy: One of the things that I didn’t mention when I was just introducing the podcast just now is that when I worked with that Nobel Prize winner, most of the content I was creating was on heart health. Obviously, I was not in the lab, but I was writing. I mean, I wrote probably at least four to 500 pieces of content just on the heart and how it works. So when I saw you and your work, I was just so excited to get to talk to you because I was looking more at the function of the heart. And I never really got to dive into a lot of what you talk about, which is social equity in healthcare and knowing symptoms of a heart attack at a young age. I want to start with your story.

Stacy: We’re going to get into all of that, but you had a heart attack at age 31, which is so young. Can you tell me that story? What happened? And then how was that a kind of pivot point in your life into the work that you do today?

Kisha: So, October 14, 2011. It was exactly two weeks after I had my second child. That particular day, I was feeling a little more fatigued, but I had a newborn. I was up all hours of the night feeding, so I didn’t really pay attention to that throughout the day. I just kind of went about my day. We were invited to go to a dinner party at a friend’s house, and it was the first time that I would have been out in months. And so I was excited, and I was still feeling a little more fatigued, but nothing was going to change my mind about going out. So once we got to our friend’s house, I started to feel a little disoriented, a little lightheaded. And again, I kind of just set it aside and thought, okay, well, I just had a baby.

Kisha: I maybe did too much today. I’m just going to try to relax. As I was having conversation with some of my friends, I started to notice that I couldn’t really focus on their faces, and it seemed like I was becoming a lot more disoriented, a lot more lightheaded. And then I started to become hot. My palms were clammy, and I excused myself when I went to the bathroom, kind of splashed water on my face and figured, okay, maybe I really do need to just relax a little bit more. And once I got back to my seat, that’s when I suddenly had the sharpest pain that I had ever experienced in my life. And I just went through labor two weeks prior.

Stacy: Right. Wow.

Kisha: So I’m able to truly compare the two.

Stacy: Where was the pain, by the way? Kisha? Just so I can understand what happened.

Kisha: So, for me, it was directly in the center of my chest. It kind of felt like someone stuck a knife through my chest. And then I had this crushing sensation, kind of like my chest was in a vice, and it was just continuously being crushed. And the pain radiated to the back of my neck and into my jaw. And then I started to feel that tingling and numbing down my left arm, as well as feeling nauseous. And I just knew something was wrong. I didn’t think at that time that it was a heart attack because I was 31, I didn’t have any medical issues, aside from indoor outdoor allergies. So that never crossed my mind. I turned to my husband, and I said, something is terribly wrong. I don’t feel right. I just know something is wrong.

Kisha: And he kind of joked around and said, oh, did you have a little too much wine? It’s your first time out. And I said, no, I know it’s more than the wine. So we rushed to the hospital, and when I got there, the receptionist, she asked me, oh, what brings you to the ER? So I told her, I have chest pain. I’m shortness of breath. I have this pain going into my jaw, into my neck. I’m nauseous. I vomited. Something is terribly wrong. And she was doing what they normally do. She said, okay, well, what were you doing prior to all of this happening? And I said, oh, well, let me just let you know.

Kisha: I just had a baby two weeks ago, and I was out at a dinner party, and she kind of smirked and said, oh, it’s anxiety or a panic attack. You’ll be fine. It’s because you’re out for the first time. And I looked at her, knowing what my normal was. At the time, I was a nursing assistant, and my mom is a nurse practitioner. So I was always kind of raised to know your normal, know your baseline, know what you are. But I turned her and I said, you know, this is my second baby. Not that even if it was my first baby, that she should have dismissed me, but I knew it was anxiety because I’ve been through this before, five years prior, and I insisted that I wanted to be seen.

Kisha: And she kind of rolled her eyes and said, okay, well, you can just go sit in the waiting room and wait to be called. So I sat in the waiting room maybe 20 to 30 minutes before being called back. Still having shortness of breath, still having that crushing chest pain, still vomiting, feeling nauseous. And finally, when they got me back, they did my vitals. They checked everything. They ran two ekgs, and the nurse and the Tech that was in the triage room that I was in, they just didn’t know what was happening. Then suddenly, a more senior nurse walked by, and she looked at me for maybe 2 seconds and said, she’s having a heart attack. She needs to get to the back now.

Kisha: And all of a sudden, it was just this moment of clarity, like, oh, my gosh, yes, this is what patients that I’ve had, these are the signs that I look for them, but they were always older. I never suspected that someone like me would have gone through that. So when they rushed me to the back, they did everything that protocol calls for, which is give oxygen, morphine, nitroglycerin. They opened up a line, they gave me iv fluids, but nothing alleviated the pain that I was going through. They didn’t have a cardiac intervention unit at that particular hospital, so they had to transport me to another hospital. The ambulance driver got lost on the way, and he was new. And I just kept thinking, I’m not going to make it.

Kisha: And I remember telling my husband when they were working on me, because he’s my second husband, I said, make sure the boys grow up together. Because in my mind, I kind of resigned to the fact that this is going to take me away. I’m not going to survive this, because by that time, it was probably over an hour since I started having my first symptoms. And with anything with the heart stroke and heart attack, time is of the essence. So I truly didn’t believe that I was going to come out of this. But we did make it to the hospital and the cardiologist that placed the stents in my heart because I needed actual surgery to save my life. He had seen a case just the year prior, and he had been a cardiologist for 30 plus years.

Kisha: And what he told me floored me. He said, okay, you had an artery tear in your heart, and it’s called a spontaneous coronary artery dissection. And I had never heard of that term before in my life. I didn’t know that anything like that existed. And he proceeded to tell me, a major artery in my heart, for whatever reason, tore and created a blockage. And that is what caused my widowmaker heart attack and a widowmaker heart attack. Only one in four survive. So having all this knowledge, I was in shock. It was a very surreal moment. I just couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. And as time went on, you kind of go within yourself because you become depressed, because you feel alienated, you feel alone.

Kisha: When a gentleman came into my room when I was in recovery, he gave me a pamphlet for a support group and what to do now since he had a heart attack and he was probably in his seventy s, the people in their support group were individuals who lived their lives, who had grown children, who had their careers and retired. I was just starting. I had a five year old and a two week old. My relationship, weren’t even five years into our relationship. I was just becoming who I thought I wanted to be at 31. And that kind of, well, all of that is what kind of made me do a deep dive into figuring out what was wrong, figuring out why it happened, trying to figure out what can I do.

Kisha: It took a long time for me to kind of get to that point because I was angry. I was angry with my body. I thought it betrayed me. I was angry with God, because I thought I did everything right. But discovering all of these different things, like heart disease is the number one killer of new moms. People don’t know that. And it made me even more angry, thinking, why doctors not know? Why are these issues not being spoken of? Why is it that woman almost turned me away? And if I was a timid and shy person, I would have gone home that night and not be here with you today.

Stacy: One of the things that I heard in your story, and it’s something that I have thought about so much in my own life and from my own experiences and friends experiences, is that you had the, I think, self knowledge and confidence to speak up in the moment. As women our whole lives, we are taught not to trust our own bodies and to take other people’s assessment of us as truth. And in that moment, you were able to be anchored and insist. And still it took time for people to really believe that you were experiencing this. It took me back to when I was. It’s interesting, because pregnancy, I think, must be such a connection point for so many health issues in women, right?

Kisha: Yes.

Stacy: But when I was pregnant with my second child, I had gestational cholestasis and went in to the doctor after a night of such extreme itching, I thought I was losing my mind. I thought I was going to go crazy. And even not my main midwife, it was another midwife, even she, when I showed her the bloody arms that I had from scratching all night, uncontrollably dismissed my symptoms. And it was only my insistence to get a blood test. I’m like, I know something is wrong, that it was discovered, and then, of course, emergency induction and all of that. And these stories are. Everybody has a story like this where they had something happen and they weren’t taken seriously.

Stacy: But then that’s compounded, as I read in your bio, that you’re a woman of color and you’re in this system that you have this layering, not just of being a woman, but also being a person of color. And there’s these systemic things that they’re, like, baked in to our medical system. What have you uncovered about that? And how is the work you’re doing helping to detangle these systems? I guess the racism, the sexism, all of these different elements. Talk to me a little bit about the work you’re doing and how you’re trying to bring awareness. I know you focus on heart health, but it’s one piece and part of a broader system.

Kisha: Yes. So the nurse who saved my life inspired me. Once I recovered, of course, about a year later, I went back to school to get my nursing degree because I was a patient and because of the way that I was treated, I wanted to be an advocate for others. And because I put myself through that, I was able to see firsthand as a patient and as a nurse how the medical system really operated. I would tell my patients, I would say, you have to advocate for yourself. No one knows your body better than you, and you have to know what is happening. And if one doctor isn’t telling you, or if one doctor isn’t on your team, then you need to find someone else for me.

Kisha: In my own experience, I had a cardiologist that I was assigned to who wanted to fit me into a box that I couldn’t fit into. And he was prescribing medications that weren’t helping. I was in heart failure for almost a whole year after my heart attack because of it. And I kept telling him, I don’t feel good. This isn’t right. I need a change. I need something different. But to him, because it worked for so many others, he couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working for me. And the particular medication that he had me on was something that typically doesn’t work for blacks, for people of color. And because I was doing my research into what happened, I knew that. So, first and foremost, I tell people, you have to find a physician who’s on your teammates. There’s no hierarchy.

Kisha: They’re supposed to listen to you. And no doctor knows 100% of anything because there’s medical advances every single day. And then as a nurse, also seeing how women are treated, you have to speak up. I had to become that advocate and say, and trust me, not all physicians like when nurses call them out, but you’re in charge of someone’s life. Sometimes it’s that extreme. And I could never live with myself knowing that I let something go that could have been solved just by speaking up. There are so many stereotypes on women, and that’s another thing that I try to educate everyone about. Women are seen as being. Well, sometimes we’re seen as being dramatic, and we’re dismissed because of it.

Kisha: Meanwhile, we wait 30% longer to actually go to the hospital than men do, and then when we’re there, it takes approximately 20% longer for us to actually be seen, which is what I went through. So just educating people and giving the knowledge, that is definitely helpful. And then being a black woman on top of it, a lot of times, I’m told, oh, well, black women are loud, and black women can deal with pain. Okay, well, if that is the case, then why aren’t you listening to me when I say that I’m in pain? So your own stereotypes don’t really work at this point, because if I’m saying, okay, I’m supposed to be a strong black woman, but I’m in pain, then you should give me what I need.

Kisha: You should listen to the things that I am describing, the signs and the symptoms, so that you can help me. Don’t fault me for something that I can’t control, which is race, and even it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or if you’re poor. Serena Williams went through something similar in which she was dismissed, and she had to fight, and she had to say, no, something is wrong. And she had, I believe it was some blood clots after she gave birth to her first. It’s just something that, unfortunately, it’s hard to change because for so long in medicine, so many people are trained that certain cultures react a certain way. We have to throw all of that out of the window. We can’t do that anymore. Cultures change, people change. We’re living in a day where women are finding their voice and speaking up.

Kisha: The generation, like my grandmother’s generation, where they thought whatever authority said was it, and they were never going to question anything at all. That’s gone. We have to question everything because our lives depend on it. And we need more people to just speak up. We need more people to share their experiences so that way we can force change. The only way to force change is to talk about it.

Stacy: There’s so much power in all of what you just said. I think one thing I hope that listeners will take from that is the self advocacy piece and self trust piece. And I also think it’s how do you show up in those moments with that confident voice that says, no, I’m not okay, run the test. I’ve had moments with my children. I was just thinking back to a specific moment with my daughter a couple of years back where she actually nearly died from a really serious infection and they tried to send me home with oral antibiotics, and she probably would have died if I hadn’t had gone, no, this is not right. You’re not seeing what I’m seeing. And sometimes we forget that our healthcare providers are hired by us.

Kisha: Yes, we pay them. We do pay them for a service.

Stacy: I think it’s like you get intimidated by it, right? Because we have a cultural expectation of this or not expectation, but it’s like a set point of a doctor as being the expert. And we forget to your point that we are actually the experts on our own body. They might know more about the right medicines or the right procedures or how to diagnose something, but they’re just meeting us often for the first time, and they actually don’t have more information than us.

Kisha: No. And this is why I love to tell people, I implore people to make sure you know your body, make sure you know what your normal is. So that way you can have the confidence to say, no, run the test. No, I don’t feel right. There’s something else. Give me a second opinion. I want a second opinion or a third opinion. Find people who are going to actually listen to you. That’s why I always talk about a team. Your medical team includes you because it’s your body and it’s based upon what you are telling the doctors. And if they want to dismiss you, go to someone else who’s going to listen.

Kisha: And that’s essentially what I did, I found a cardiologist who was willing to learn about SCAD, who was open to me, bringing information, and us working together to build a health care plan that was suitable for what I was going through. And my heart failure. Within six months of me seeing him completely changed, I went from being at a 26, 27% heart function, and I went up to 35. Normally, for someone who hasn’t had a heart attack, you’re probably about in the high sixty s, low seventy s or so, but at least I got that far. Who knows what would have happened if I stayed with that other cardiologist? So it’s very important that you know what it feels like when you are sick, because you have to know your normal to know when you’re sick.

Kisha: Very important for you to go to the doctor to get those baseline tests, figure out what your blood pressure is, where it should be, figure out what your cholesterol level is, and how it could affect you. It’s important for you to figure out if there’s any family history of anything. Diabetes runs in my family. That was always something that were very well aware of. So were always taught to eat a certain way. We were always taught to stay active since I was very little. So you need to know family history, because family history will contribute to your health. That’s in your dna. And for, unfortunately, a lot of families of color, sometimes they don’t want to talk about history. Sometimes they don’t want to talk about different things that have happened to relatives in the past.

Kisha: But we have to, because, like I said, it’s part of our DNA, and we want to give our children a leg up. We want them to succeed, not fail. So we need to talk about it. We need to make sure that everyone in the family is educated, so that way we have the support, too, to say to anyone, I need help. Listen to me now.

Stacy: Knowing your normal is such an important piece. I’ve never heard anybody talk about it like that. And that’s going to change for me and how I think about my own health. So thank you for that. And then also that breaking down those cultural barriers that are keeping those conversations from happening so powerful. I want to just, on a really practical level, give our listeners signs and symptoms to look for. You mentioned the symptoms that you had with your heart attack. I’m also curious to know if there were any, I don’t know, presymptoms or risk factors that maybe were happening in advance before that moment that you could have given you a warning. So maybe you could offer some just practical what to look for our listeners in relation to a heart attack.

Kisha: So men and women have very different symptoms. Men have the typical things that you would think for a heart attack. They have the chest pain, the numbing down the left arm, whereas women, we tend to feel a little more fatigued, almost kind of like we have flulike symptoms where our body could ache. We’re nauseous, lightheaded, which are things that happened or were happening prior to me even getting to the party that evening. But also we tend to kind of dismiss those little things because they mimic being tired. You just had a baby, so of course you’re tired, or of course you’re lightheaded. You just finished breastfeeding, so that could be. But there are different things that altogether could be a heart attack. And I’m not saying that every single time you feel lightheaded, it’s a heart attack. But think about it.

Kisha: Okay, I’m feeling lightheaded. What have I done today? Did I drink enough water? Am I dehydrated? Really? Think about the things that are happening with you. So for a woman, lightheadedness, that indigestion. Women don’t always have the chest pain when it comes to a heart attack. They don’t always experience that sharp pain. So any sort of other pain, like in the back of the neck, into the jaw, even maybe something as simple as a toothache, you have to make sure that you’re up on your dental hygiene as well. Those are typical things that women tend to experience prior to heart attacks. It’s not always something that’s right in your face. So this is why I tell people know your normal, because any little change, and I’m not saying that you have to rush to the hospital for everything, but think about it.

Kisha: Let’s think about what is happening altogether. Let’s not be so dismissive.

Stacy: As somebody who’s a professional in the healthcare system and has experienced it. So you’ve been on both sides of it. Obviously, knowing yourself is one side of it, knowing your potential symptoms, paying attention to those cues from your body. But then there’s this whole other side of the medical system. And I know we touched on this a little bit before, but what do you actually know? Several doctors that listen to this podcast personally know them. I know there’s people in the medical system listening to this. What are the things that you hope to see change on that side of the equation that will enable more equity?

Kisha: I just want to see us be listened to. I remember a few years after my heart attack, maybe about six or seven years afterwards, I was having chest pain again, and I went to the hospital, the same hospital where my medical work records were at, the same hospital where they had to place a stent to save my life. And I told them that I was having chest pain. And I had a psych consult called on me. And I’m an RN at this point. I’m in charge of a surgery center. I have a lot behind me. So I am a career woman. I’m very well educated, and to have a psych consult called on me because I’m insisting on being checked, that has to change. We can no longer dismiss women or think that they need a psych consult because they’re concerned about their health.

Kisha: Are there some people who tend to over exaggerate? Yes. But don’t just assume that right there in the beginning that’s what it is. Run the test, give them what they need, listen to them, and maybe it can be anxiety that’s causing chest pain. We’re paying you. You’re not losing out on anything. I figured I would be a really easy patient because I am a nurse. But, I mean, in all seriousness, it’s not fair to just assume that someone, because of their gender or their race, that they should be dismissed. I ended up having pericarditis, which is inflammation of the sac around the heart. So it was something that. There was something happening to me. But again, if I did not insist on being seen, and when psych came to see me, they were very well aware that I was fine.

Kisha: But I would love it if doctors were more willing to be open to their patients, being part of the team, listening to them, not just assuming because of appearance, that they can dismiss them or fit them into any category. In medicine, in nursing, we are taught, treat each patient as an individual. And I find it very peculiar that nurses are taught that. But physicians tend to try to put people into set categories, and you can’t do that. We’re not all the same, and we experience life differently, our bodies experience different stimuli differently. So we need to take into account our patients as individuals, and on top of that, listen to their concerns. And sometimes it could be something as simple as mental health, and they just want to be heard. But like I said, it’s the patient.

Kisha: You’re supposed to be doing your job and treating them and helping them, whatever that may be.

Stacy: Well, and mental health is health care as well, right. You can’t really just dissect these into different categories. I hope that anybody in the healthcare industry heard that fully. And it got me thinking, too. I mean, you’ve brought up socioeconomic. You’ve talked about race, gender. I remember when my daughter was really little, I had to take her to the emergency room. She was probably, like eight months or something. I was rushing around, and before I left, I put on nicer clothes than I normally would wear. And my husband was like, why are you dressing like that? I was like, this will impact how they treat me. When I take her to the emergency room, he was like, it was, to him, that was a totally radical way to think about healthcare.

Stacy: And I was like, no, but it’s a true right, and that should not be. I’m so glad that you’re doing the work that you’re doing, Kisha. I want to talk a little bit about that work because one of the things that I think is we’re pivoting conversation a little bit here, but I think is really cool about your story is that you had this personal experience. You felt compelled to make a difference and to scale that message and impact more people, and you were able to do that. So in 2022, you were selected as a national spokeswoman for the American Heart association. Congratulations. What an amazing accomplishment.

Kisha: Thank you.

Stacy: And you’ve been able to get on podcasts and different platforms to really talk and share this message. A lot of our listeners share in that desire to make an impact on the world. And they have a story or a message. They have a heart of impact. They want to make this world a better place. Can you talk me through how you. I know. I mean, obviously, we can’t go into the whole entire journey, but just high level, how did you go from the hospital room to the scale of impact that you’re able to make now through interviews, through speaking out, through the. Aha. Talk to me a little bit about that journey.

Kisha: So it was a long process. In the beginning, there was no way that I could have told my story without crying, so I didn’t. So it took a number of years for me to be able to do that. Mental health is also a very important issue for me. I was depressed after my heart attack, so it took a long time for me to accept that what happened, did happen, and it happened to me. Once I was able to come to terms with that and do the research, I was able to educate myself. That kind of pushed me along a little bit further. There was a particular time back in 2019 where I had to take a break from work. I had some knee surgery done. And once a nurse, always a nurse, whether you’re working or not.

Kisha: You have this drive or this passion to want to help people. And I decided, well, I know about being a heart patient. Let me see if I could just volunteer with the American Heart association. So I did reach out to them. I let them know my story, and they said, oh, you would be great. Come to a luncheon. And then one luncheon turned into, oh, why don’t you come to this survivors circle? And that turned into, oh, how about you do a speech and be this local person that people can turn to? And because I have it so ingrained in me, whether it’s personality or I don’t know what, I just have this need to help people. I really, truly have a need to help people.

Kisha: And I gained so much from women just coming up to me either after an event or reaching out through social media, and they said, oh, my gosh, I didn’t know. Thank you so much for sharing. I remember I had one instance where a woman said, because of what you talked about last week, I got my mom help, and she needed surgery. She ended up having bypass surgery because of the symptoms that I said, chills. Right?

Stacy: Chills. Thinking about that.

Kisha: So the more stories I heard, the more I knew that this was something I had to do. This was something that I couldn’t just have it be, oh, I’m just going to volunteer just a little bit. No, I had to put full force behind it. And because of that feeling of loneliness in the beginning, because I didn’t see people like me who went through what I went through, I didn’t want any more women to go through that. I didn’t want any more women to feel alone. I didn’t want anyone to feel like they weren’t being listened to. I wanted them to know, hey, I’m here with you. I went through it. I understand what you’re talking about. I understand what you’re going through. Let’s get through this together. And with the American Heart Association, I was able to do that.

Kisha: And there’s one woman who was there, and she must have known that I would be someone to really be a true big advocate, because she would push me to try out for things on a more national level with the AHA. And the first time I submitted, I didn’t get it. So the second time, when she brought it up for the following year, I said, no, I’m not doing this. But I submitted a video. I think it was maybe the second to last day or the last day that they were accepting submissions, and I got picked. That particular year to be a national spokesperson and being able to do that meant so much to me because it meant that obviously, the American Heart association, they’re all about heart health, but go red for women specifically is about women’s heart health.

Kisha: And really trying to drive that message. Listen to us. Things are happening here. And to be a part of that and to be able to bring that really gave me so much comfort, and it was so cathartic. It’s probably the cheapest form of therapy that I’ve ever had. But when you’re so passionate about something, my husband tells me that I’m overly altruistic. But when you’re so passionate about something, there’s a fire that burns within you. And for me, I had to let it out. I was restless. And I think anyone who has that same passion let it out, whether it’s writing, speaking, whatever you have to do, because the world is ready for it.

Kisha: Everyone might not get it at first, but there are going to be people who are on that same wavelength who are going to say, yes, I wish I thought of that, or, yes, I went through that. There’s someone else. We as humans, we want camaraderie. We want and need human connection. We want to feel like we belong. And essentially, that’s what I wanted. That’s what I needed. That’s what I found, that’s what I created, and I’m proud of that. And I really encourage anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s health related or sport related, anything. If you have that passion, go for it. You won’t regret it.

Stacy: Oh, my goodness. I love that message so much. And I know that’s going to resonate with our listeners because all the things that you just said about just creating the thing, getting out in the world and doing the thing that you’re on fire for, the thing that I heard from your story that I hope people will take from it is that you put yourself out there and you went for those opportunities to really kind of step up your impact and have a broader impact on the world. It’s so beautiful. Kisha, thank you for joining me today. I truly feel like we could just keep going and going, but we have to end at some point. So why don’t you tell our listeners where they can learn more about you and follow along on your journey?

Kisha: Yes. So I wrote a book called sonata for a damaged heart, and that is basically my story from heart attack through my go read for women experience. And also, I lived in Lahaina during the Lahaina wildfires, and it goes through that as well, not just as a survivor, but as a heart patient. The things that you have to think of when you’re going through a natural disaster in regards to your health, because your health is still there. So you can get the book to read my story. You can also follow me on Instagram at Kisha and SCAd. Also on Facebook, it’s Kisha Stewart living with SCAd. If you just go to the go read for women website and type in Kisha Stewart or Wakisha Stewart, you’ll find my story as well and follow me.

Kisha: There’s a lot going on and I have a lot of information that I share, including just family life and just what it’s like to live as a woman nowadays and survive and get through and go through everything.

Stacy: I love that and I know that’ll be valuable for people to follow along on your journey. And I’m so glad you brought around the book. I got so engrossed in our conversation, I didn’t even ask you about it. Of course, books are like half of what we talk about on this podcast, so we’ll be sure to link to that in our show notes. And I can tell, I’m sure our listeners know just hearing the first bit of your story, that you’re a magnificent storyteller. And I’m sure they’ll enjoy your book as well. Kisha, thank you so much for joining me today.

Kisha: Thank you so much. I really enjoyed speaking with you, Stacy.

Stacy: And thank you to you, our listener, for joining us today. I hope that you got some really valuable information, and maybe just like the story Kisha shared today, maybe it will help save a life of somebody you care about or even for yourself. Thank you as always to Rita Domingues for producing this fine podcast. And I will be back with you before you know.



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