You spin me round…

How much fun did we have with this Flo Rida popsong a few weeks ago!  First it was part of our Cardio Fun hula hoop routine, then we challenged the guys who attended our Mother’s day event…

…and then I had the privilege of doing this number with two netball teams from our local primary school!  Never a dull moment!

Little did I know at the time that the words of that song would soon become a strange and unexpected reality in my life…

In her book, “The New Land”, Ljupka Cvetanova writes: “Life is a circle. It spins you around.”  I think I will always look back on the month of June 2023, thinking: “How is it possible for days on end, that life could feel as if it’s spinning way out of control…?”

If you had asked me a fortnight ago what BPPV stands for, I would probably have said: “Beware of Pilates, it’s Potentially Vicious!” 😆 Why?  Because that’s when I had my first serious “episode”.  The signs of dizziness have been there, of course, a few days before, when I was leaning back in the bathtub to rinse my hair, and on that Sunday evening two weeks ago, when I went to bed – it felt as if the world was really spinning.

But, in the 5.10 Pilates class on Tuesday, when I tried to roll down and up, everything went black, and I was overcome with dizziness.  Obviously, everyone was surprised and stunned and worried, and luckily Jacqueline was there to step in.  A few hours later, when we recorded Jacqueline’s Variety class, the same thing happened…Afterwards, Michelle said she could see the reflection of my eyes in the mirror – they were jumping and twitching in all directions.

The strangest of all was, I was 100 percent fine when I was in an upright position, so only the 5 am members of the Rhythm Pilates and Bootybarre classes knew that something was off.  At first, I blamed my low blood pressure for the dizzy spells, but then I Googled…(I know, I know, consulting Dr Google is always a bad idea, because it often takes us down internet rabbit holes.  But, when I stumbled upon BPPV, I was almost certain – my symptoms matched the BPPV condition perfectly.)

On Friday morning my suspicions were confirmed by dr Pretorius after he had performed a simple test with a fancy name, the Dix-Hallpike maneuver, and without hesitation he immediately referred me to dr Zac van Wyk, a specialist in Secunda.  Apparently dr van Wyk has a 90 percent success rate in treating BBPV.  Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common disorder of the inner ear with symptoms including dizziness, vertigo, unsteadiness and nausea.  BPPV occurs when crystals (called otoconia), normally located in one part of the vestibular (or balance) system of your inner ear, become dislodged and collect in another part of the inner ear balance system.  As your head moves, the dislodged crystals also move, and incorrect messages are sent to your brain and then to your eyes.  (I know, sounds totally weird, hey?  But don’t worry, this has nothing to do with having a few loose screws!)

This cause symptoms such as an illusion of movement or spinning with common movements or changes in position such as rolling over in bed, getting in or out of bed, or looking or reaching up, or as in my case, trying to roll up and down in a Pilates class.  BPPV is nothing serious, just uncomfortable, and to a fitness instructor – very embarrassing.

…Dr van Wyk treated me with the Epley maneuver on Friday and Monday, and to make a long, dizzy story short,  after a few days, the spells gradually started to disappear.

It’s not clear what causes BPPV.  It can be a head injury and, in my case, maybe too many years of jumping!  In Cardio class Fun on Wednesday, I jokingly remarked that maybe our crazy head jerks in doing the Zumba “Konga” song made my ear crystals fall out.

Why have I decided to write about this today?  There are many reasons:  Because I think it’s important that all my members know that I am okay now.  Because I just realized again there are million things about our bodies we don’t know and can still learn.  Because I have experienced so much support from everyone during the past two weeks.  Because it always amazes me, how we are able to find the humour in any situation.  But more than anything else, it made me realize that there are so many small miracles in life I take for granted…

I have always been grateful for being able to exercise – for being able to do complicated routines and movements and workouts with my body.  I have always regarded the rolling down and up movement in our BASI Pilates mat work, as the simplest of all exercises.  You see, many people who struggle to do this exercise, think that it’s because they don’t have strong core muscles that they aren’t able to go from lying down to sitting up. 

It actually has nothing to do with that – the secret lies in the flexibility of the lower back.  It’s as simple as that – if you are LUCKY to have a naturally curved spine, you’ll be able to perform the exercise with ease – no prior experience or strong abdominal muscles needed.

After my nightmarish experience with BPPV, there’s something I would like to change about the above paragraph.  You are not LUCKY to be able to do a roll-up, you are BLESSED.  I am not lucky to feel my old self again, I am blessed.  I am blessed to be able to teach again.  I am blessed to be able to walk straight again.  I am blessed with so many people in my life who are concerned about my well-being, and who have prayed for me.  I am blessed beyond measure.  We all are.  Even when, or should I say, especially when it feels that life is spinning us round and round and out of control.

I guess this is what the American author, Edgar Allan Poe, referred to hundreds of years ago when he said: “Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.”

Have a wonderful week, and if you are a Winter Challenge member, WhatsApp these words to me before 20.00:  This week I’ll count my blessings, not my “depressings”!

Yours in Fitness


2 comments to “You spin me round…”

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  1. Colette Barnard says:

    Beautiful inspirational piece. I am glad you are better. You
    have opened my eyes to all my blessings.

    • Mirna says:

      Dankie Colette, elke dag verseker een groot seening!