Strictly's Natalie Gumede on fainting: My body shut down (and now Artem is injured too) - EXCLUSIVE BLOG

Corrie star Natalie Gumede is blogging exclusively for Yahoo as she tries her luck at Strictly Come Dancing this year with partner Artem Chigvintsev. Last week she was forced to pull out after she fainted in dress rehearsals. Here she breaks her silence about what happened and why the duo are not out of the wars just yet...

From this point onwards, Artem and I are in danger of being known as the sadists of Strictly. Every single week so far we have come up against injuries of varying severity - mine more well documented than his but nevertheless each has been somewhat hampering every time.

Natalie exclusively tells us about her fainting incident. Copyright [Twitter/NatalieGumede]
The wonderful thing about Artem and I is how well we work together - we both enjoy the rehearsal process immensely - and for all of his reputation as 'The Terminator', he simply expects his contestant (I can hardly call myself his dance partner, that would imply I was his equal) to work to the best of their ability, and dedicate as much time as their schedule will allow to the learning process. Our work ethic is very well matched, and I'm very lucky to have the time to work full time on Strictly.

Natalie Gumede fainted twice ahead of Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday. Copyright [BBC]
Saturday's fainting episodes were an almost inevitable result of not taking the time to rest after having an epidural, steroid and painkilling injections, whilst continuing to take pills for my back trouble back in week four. I had the option of missing a show back then but there was no way I was going to do so unless I was forced to - I am living a dream by being on Strictly and learning new dance styles every week - it took my body shutting down for a second to remind me of the importance of looking after myself.
I will now be giving myself a day off a week in order to rest, but I must add that the hours Artem and I put don't feel in any way like a chore, as much as they are hard work. If I was the professional dancer that people have been misinformed I am, it wouldn't take the 30-40 hours per week we spend trying make each dance the best it can be.

Natalie Gumede scored the first perfect ten of SCD 2013 two weeks ago. Copyright [BBC]
Artem and I continue to bring drama to the show every week for the wrong reasons, and as well as my knee, back, and exhaustion issues, Artem has had knee issues of his own, a fractured nose at my clumsy hands (or elbow), and this week a pulled muscle in his neck, which means we may have to adjust this week's number to accommodate. We laugh about it - we are having the time of our lives and injuries are a challenge to either push through, work around or adapt to when working on such a physically demanding job...

[Natalie Gumede: How I left Artem in a bloody, dazed state]

[Natalie Gumede: On dancing in Strictly on a cocktail of drugs]

What is important for me re-iterate is how much of a pleasure Strictly has been and continues to be despite some difficult experiences along the way. I have discovered dancing with a partner to be a pure expression of joy and Team Nartem was down for a week but I am thoroughly grateful that we are not out.

True Strictly fans have gone on this rollercoaster journey with us, and I have been absolutely blown away and humbled by everyone's support. Thank you all so much for sticking with Artem and I to reach this point, and we can't wait for the next chapter in our Strictly story - the Charleston!

[Tess Daly reveals the HORROR of Natalie Gumede's fainting incident]