My name is Carolina and I’m 36 years old. I live with my husband and three kids in Zoetermeer. I also own a horse, a young thoroughbread Arab and some other animals. I work parttime in security, in mobile surveillance. This means spending a lot of time in the car, but I like this job.
I have always had ‘flat feet’ and very flexible joints (this is partly due to my Asian heritage) which resulted in weak wrists, often having painful joints and spraining my ankle a lot. I learned to live with it and I got advice on these matters. When I was 11 years old things really went wrong with my knee, resulting in another weak point in my body. In all three pregnancies I’ve had pelvic instability and you can also add falling off my horse about 2/3 times.
The best choice when it comes to Pilates
When my youngest son was born I really wanted to work on losing weight, getting (physically) stronger and just work on myself. Because of the irregular hours that I work individual sports like fitness are basically all I can do. I did have two horses that I rode. Years before that I had read about Pilates online, and while there are many gyms that teach Pilates, they all do it in classes. That’s when I started looking for an individual Pilates teacher, and in the summer of 2011 I found Marjolein. And even better, her studio was only 2 blocks away! It turned out to be the best choice, Pilates wise, that I could have made.
I was sold
After my first introduction to Marjolein and Pilates I was sold. Marjolein is patient, peaceful, has a ton of knowledge, respects you, teaches well and knows how to motivate me. I take private lessons with her. It’s definitely intense, but I always leave feeling good, happy and stretched. I should do more at home than I do right now because that has an even bigger impact on the training.
So far I’ve gotten way more supple and stronger because of Pilates. I’m much more focused on my posture. I know more about my body now. I found out that all the ‘advice’ I got when I was younger was wrong and what the consequences were for my posture later in life. It’s not easy changing that when you’re 36, but I’m already doing a lot better. I can also make sure that my youngest, who has hyper mobility does get the right advice and help. I am now able to go horseback riding with more balance and with less pain afterwards, I can walk longer, my posture is better, I have little to no cramp in my feet anymore, no pain in my knees anymore, etc.
Even more enthusiastic
I’m even more enthusiastic about Pilates now than I was then, and the reason for that happened in the summer of 2012. In August 2012 I was sitting on the couch at home, and when I tried to get up I couldn’t! My back was completely frozen. Of course this happened on a Sunday evening, I called the doctor that was on call, and he advised me to take a lot of painkillers and go to the doctor the next day. So, the next day I, don’t ask me how, made my way to the doctor. I was prescribed extra painkillers and was told I had to take physical therapy. I did all of that and after about 2 weeks I was able to move in a somewhat normal way.
It couldn’t be a hernia
After a stop for the summer Pilates started again and I told Marjolein what had happened and if it was any use to come in. The answer was ‘yes, of course!’ and even though I was a bit reluctant and afraid that I could only do one thing, I went. We changed the program a bit and we got to work. She told me to immediately tell her if I felt any discomfort, and Marjolein kept a close eye on me to see how I was doing. One month later I was doing pretty well, my physical therapist send me home with a piece of paper with some exercises on it and that was it. I relapsed after that. There were times when I was crying in my car (work) wondering how I was going to finish my shift. I went back to my GP, and she told me it may be a nerve that was stuck, or cramped up muscles. She told me it couldn’t be a hernia because I was still moving. I went to a manual therapist as well, on my own initiative, which helped a bit, but the pain kept returning. I kept taking more painkillers and I returned to my GP again. She didn’t expect me to be able to finish her ‘tests’ and I didn’t fit the picture of someone with severe back pain. Eventually she referred me to a neurologist for an MRI scan.
It was a hernia!
In January 2013 I got my MRI scan and the pictures clearly showed I had a hernia 6 months prior! The second vertebra also looked really bad, so I guess I’d been lucky it wasn’t a double hernia. But the most important thing to me was; recognition at last! We could finally work towards recovery in the Pilates classes. My second biggest fear was being unable to ride my horses….in February I was able to ride on my youngest horse. There was a total of 2 days that I was unable to work. And I’m absolutely convinced that the year of Pilates before I got my hernia is the reason why I recovered so fast.
Wedding day without pain
I got married in July 2013, and I spent that day pain free. At the end of August 2013 I was transmitted into the hospital with a severely infected gallbladder and I needed immediate surgery. Afterwards I had to spend some days on an antibiotic IV, and I didn’t train about 3 times and I had 2 days where I only worked half the day. But I definitely didn’t make the 7 weeks of rest that I had to take after surgery. This fast recovery is because of Pilates, in my opinion.
I’m convinced about the positive impact Pilates can have on you, unfortunately I had to find out because of some less positive things happening to me, but they were less bad than they could have been, and I recovered quicker because of the positive changes happening to my body. Because of the motivating and insightful lessons by Marjolein and because there are still so many challenges left, I choose to keep doing Pilates.