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Back to life…through Pilates

A shock diagnosis of a massive brain tumour turned the fit and healthy Marqueritta Pitout’s life upside down leaving her unable to walk, talk or eat properly. Her saving grace was her faith . . . and Pilates.

Life was good for Umhlanga’s Marqueritta a.k.a Mic – she owned a successful Pilates studio, was strong, fit and healthy. Until she suddenly wasn’t.


“I was walking strangely, like a drunk, and I knew something was not right. I went to an ENT and he immediately sent me for an MRI. I remember walking into the specialist’s practice to hear what was going on and saw pictures of my brain all over the place. It was quite shocking,” said Mic, who lives with her three Dachsies – Leo, Alex and Ricardo.

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A shock diagnosis
The diagnosis was not good. She had a big tumour that was mangled in her brain, dangerously close to the brain stem – the part that controls basic body functions. The only good news was that it was a non-malignant tumour.

“They said I had had the tumour for about ten years. They operated immediately to try remove some of it, but they could not get all of it out because of where it was positioned.”
She spent two months in hospital last year, unable to walk or talk, yet she remained confident that all would be well. “I was in high spirits. I knew I would be okay. My faith is very strong and I had a huge prayer group praying for me. I had my down days – especially in hospital where I was so bored lying in bed all day – but overall I felt positive.”

She moved in with her parents and her mom had to support her for eight months while she was trying to get back on her feet . . . literally. “My mom had to help me with everything – undress me, bath me, feed me. You lose all shame when you are in that position. My parents put their lives on hold to help me and they were so amazing and supportive through everything.”

With the help of a speech therapist, she learned how to speak and eat properly again. Learning how to walk again, however, was the biggest challenge. “I remember I had to sit in a chair and try to move around. It was so hard. I have a whole new sense of appreciation and respect for the challenges paraplegics face in their day-to-day lives.”

The power of Pilates
Despite all the physical challenges, Mic never stopped doing what she was most passionate about – Pilates. “My parents were very strict with me, thank goodness, and made sure I did Pilates every morning, even when I could not walk,” said Mic, who studied Personal Training in Ireland and worked with Tash B Pilates before opening La Marque Pilates Studio ten years ago.

“I have always had such a love for the movement of BASI Pilates. It is so effective because it adapts to every individual’s body which I experienced first-hand during my healing process. I thank Pilates every day for my recovery – I would not have come this far without it.”

Mic has slowly started teaching again, doing about three hours a day which she will build up to eight hours eventually. “I have had to learn to take things slowly and keep calm as stress is a major trigger for the tumour. I will always have it, but it is under control now and I need to keep it that way. Not always easy when you run your own business but luckily, I have fantastic trainers and loyal clients who held the fort while I was away.”

Details: Contact Mic at 076 790 5756 or visit the Facebook page – La Marque Pilates Studio

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