a broken heart – physical healing

March 22, 2012Karen Courcy

Since being in therapy, I truly believe that emotional healing plays a huge factor in physical healing.

I also believe and have learned that emotional stress also leads to physical stress – they go both hand in hand.

I was born with a heart condition called “Bicuspid Aortic Valve”. I didn’t know I was born with this condition until I was rushed to the hospital in AFIB (Atrial Fibrillation) back in 2004, which I have to say was the scariest moment of my life, and a turning point in my physical healing as well.

When I was a child I always complained that my heart hurt. No one listened! The teachers at school thought it was an excuse to get out of gym, or an excuse to go home. I complained about it so much that they toned me out as “it’s not real”.

I suffered from constant chest pains, and had a hard time breathing a lot. Even doctors who saw me fluked it off as some kind of “anxiety issue” – yeah, if they only knew.

In 2004 I was at my sister in law Debbie’s house spending the night with the kids because we had to be somewhere early the next morning. I was sleeping in the big bed with Nathan and Ryan.

I woke up from really bad heart palpitations that would not go away, and before I knew it, my heart was beating and jumping all over the place, like it was off beat at a very high rate.

911 was called, the paramedics came, hooked me up to a monitor and saw that my heart was beating 219bpm (the normal being 80 at resting)! They rushed me to the hospital and in that moment I thought I was never going to see my kids again!

While in the ER, I was in AFIB for 9 hours. They were just getting ready to shock my heart back to normal sinus rhythm when it converted back to normal on its own. Needless to say they found my heart condition; it only took 30+ years to find it!

Having a heart condition comes with its stress, and frustrations. I deal with day to day palpitations, some that bring me to my knees bending over trying to breathe keeping myself from going back into AFIB. I have learned to really sit as still as I can when these palpitations come, because the more anxiety you feed it, the worst it gets.

My aorta is mildly enlarged, and there is some leakage to the valve. I see a cardiologist on a regular basis, and we do scans twice a year to see if it’s grown.

I will eventually need to have open heart surgery, which is why we watch for its growth, and watch for the leakage. We check it every 6 months.

A lot of what my heart goes through has a lot to do with my “emotional” healing as well. I have learned that when I am holding a lot inside emotionally, I really have a hard time with my heart – but that goes without saying, it works the other way around as well. My heart feels physically better, when I work on the emotional things I sometimes hold that is too much.

I have been in session before, and my therapist will know I am holding a lot emotionally when my nose starts to bleed during hard moments in session! It happens quite often, and although embarrassing, it’s almost a gage to know that “I really am holding TOO much”.

Years of holding things in, my heart reacts, even like my doctor said to me just a month ago – “you need to let some of that stress go”.

Listening to my body and what it needs has also been about my healing. I have learned in therapy how to “breathe”. My therapist has taught me how to turn those heart palpitations into good energy.

Last night I had such a scary and bad heart palpitation that is almost made me jump out of bed – but I didn’t. I sat there and I stayed still, I took a deep breath and let the heart do whatever it was doing, and then it was fine. It left me feeling flushed, red and tired, but I was OK.

I truly believe that I am not only healing emotionally, but I am healing physically. Will it make my heart condition go away? No! But I can have control over what it does to me every day, and how I react to it.

I won’t lie, living with this is horrible! I will have days where my heart is jumping all day long, and I feel totally exhausted, but because of my emotional healing, it has helped me physically as well.

I had a heart appointment this morning, and I am free and clear for another 6 months, and I almost wanted to cry in relief! I worry about it every day (having open heart surgery). I know it will happen someday – but not today.

So now I nap in relief, I give my heart some rest, and I take another step forward in my healing – both emotionally and physically.



  • anna

    March 22, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Karen – wow I didn’t know you had a heart condition – bless your heart (pun intended)..

    I will say a prayer that you heal both inside and out everyday. I am sorry you go through that..

    My sister had something similar, but it was a murmur?


  • Hanna Delenez

    March 22, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Karen, what a scary thing to have on top of all that you have gone through. It seems as if you have it under control, which is good and that you have great doctors.

    It’s true, alot of emotional stress puts stress on the heart, and if you already have a heart condition, that could make it worse!

    Thank you for sharing another part of your story! your truly a strong person!

    1. Karen Courcy

      March 22, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      HI Hanna! Thank you for always reading my blog…. HUGS

  • Eileen

    March 22, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I agree Karen. Physical and emotional stress do go hand in hand. Glad you got a good report today!

    1. Karen Courcy

      March 22, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      thank you Eileen.. I was worried about it ALL NIGHT LONG! my fear is open heart surgery! it’s a long recovery and it’s scary! I am glad I have 6 more months before worrying about it again lol

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