When KCTV5 morning meteorologist Erin Little went MIA during the middle of May sweeps, viewers wondered what happened to the popular forecaster. Turns out, Little was at home battling vertigo for well over a month. We wanted to hear about how she was diagnosed and, more importantly, how she recovered. Now that she’s back on the air, Little tells us what happened, in her own words:
“What’s wrong with the floor? Is one of the beams supporting the set’s platform breaking?”
That’s how the month of May started for me.
I was standing on our set—like I do every morning at KCTV5 News—but it felt like something was wrong. I told our team of engineers at work that I thought maybe something was broken with our set. I didn’t think any more about it.
Flash-forward a week.
I’m cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, and I am wiping down the counter. I feel this little wave of dizziness. I think to myself, that’s weird. I’m a busy mom with three young children. I have a crazy work schedule. I just need some rest I told myself. Again, I didn’t think any more of it.
Flash-forward again to mid-May—specifically May 17th.
I arrive at work. As the morning meteorologist at KCTV5, I work very early hours. I sit down at my desk and instantly realize something is very wrong. I can’t focus on anything—either mentally or physically. I can’t find my feet underneath me. The next thing I know it’s 3 a.m. and I am at the E.R.
Doctors and nurses are checking my heart, my bloodwork, all the things. The good news, I check out fine. They tell me I have vertigo and give me some anti-nausea medicine. It will pass, they said. The bad news? In that moment I had absolutely no idea how vertigo would overwhelm my entire life for the next five weeks.
In the days and weeks to come I looked totally fine on the outside. I was anything but okay on the inside.
My vertigo completely debilitated every aspect of my life. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t take care of my children the same way. There was no TV. No Netflix marathons. And forget scrolling my phone or using social media.
The best way to describe what it’s like: I felt like I was on an airplane walking down the aisle during wild turbulence. I was forever struggling to find solid ground underneath me.
Most days I was had to just sit still. There was very little, if any, movement. It sounds like a break from the everyday hustle, but as the days turned into weeks, it became very isolating. My saving grace were my kids and husband surrounding me with love.
Fortunately (and thankfully), Douglas Cowan, M.D., my ENT, quickly diagnosed me with vertigo due to chronic sinuses issues, and together we came up with a game plan. After many, many—too many!—years of sinus infections, we decided that sinus surgery was the next best step for me to improve my health and help my vertigo subside.
I’m grateful to say that post-surgery life is much better today. If I am being completely honest, my vertigo isn’t gone completely but slowly improving each day.
On days when I was terrified it would never get better, I remember what my good friend Donna Pitman (from another local TV station in town) told me: ‘You can’t control any of this, but you can have hope. Hope for better days ahead.’ It seems so simple to say, but in some of my darkest days when my depression was heavy and there seemed like no end in sight, I would breathe and remember those words.
There was zero hesitation when I spoke with my bosses who told me not to worry about a thing and to feel better. That response was a blessing, along with all my co-workers who helped to cover my shifts while I was away.
A shout-out to all the nurses and teams who supported me—specifically Christa at Dr. Cowan’s office, Ascentist Ear, Nose & Throat. When I was scared and literally couldn’t take one step forward, you calmly kept telling me it will get better. Your compassion and kindness made a world of difference to me—and I’m sure to all your patients in their time of need.
By the way, the flooring at KCTV5 is just fine. There was never anything wrong with the beams. It was just the first sign something was wrong with me. It’s a reminder to listen to your body, my friends. I know we’re all busy, but nothing matters more than our health.