Rep. Gail Finney - My voice is only as strong as my heart’s ability to keep beating
Gail Finney (born August 16, 1959) is a Democratic member of the Kansas House of Representatives, representing the 84th house district. She has served since 2009. Finney was born in Wichita, Kansas. She is a graduate of Southeast High School, has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wichita State University and an MBA from Friends University. Finney has served on the Wichita Chamber of Commerce's Visioneering Racial, Diversity, Opportunities, and Harmony Board; the District 1 Advisory Board, Precinct Committee Woman, and the Governor's Kansas African American Advisory Commission. She blogs to help other survivors know the importance of working to prevent a second heart attack.
As a woman and as a public servant, I wear several hats. I was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 2008. I serve my community as a board member for various nonprofit organizations. I choose to use my voice and my talents for the greater good. I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I live with Lupus and last year, I donned the additional hat of “heart attack survivor.”
In 2019, I was at an event giving a speech about an issue that was very important for the house district that I was elected to represent. It involved correct eminent domain and the rights of my constituents and their property values were in jeopardy. I was very invested and passionate about finding a resolution for them. When I finished my speech, I noticed both my hands shaking uncontrollably. I thought it was just my nerves and adrenaline. I went to another event and after speaking there, I felt a tightness in my chest that I just couldn’t ignore. I called my husband and asked him to meet me at home.
On my drive home, it became clear to me that I needed to change course and head to the nearest hospital. Despite my symptoms, they could not find evidence of a heart attack until a blood test revealed elevated troponin. I had 90% blockage in one artery and a 30% blockage in two other arteries.
After a stint and a hospital stay, I had time to reflect on the seriousness of my condition. My mother passed from cardiac disease at age 67. I also have aunts with heart issues. I full well understood and still understand the seriousness of my condition. I also understand that I must take care of the only heart that I have been given.
My current regime for my heart health consists of taking a daily aspirin, numerous other medications and eating healthier. I also have prioritized self-care. While my job and other commitments are important and require a lot of my energy, I recognize the health benefits of taking time to unwind, rest, breathe and enjoy time with my family. My constituents, family and community rely upon me to be in their corner, but my voice is only as strong as my heart’s ability to keep beating.