Share Your Inspiration: Meet Jerry Wiggins

I want to tell you about my success story.


I have a rough medical history. Brain surgery from Chiari Malformation, a kidney removed from renal cancer, and some autonomic issues such as Central sleep apnea, gastroparesis, and POTS. My ears ring so loud 24/7. Of all this, the headaches, the nerve damage, and the pain from Chiari are my biggest issues. I have had doctors give up on me, tell me it was all in my head…well Chiari is in my head…and in general with some bad experiences.

I had to medically retire from a job I enjoyed which changed my way of life. I had become very non-mobile, with high blood pressure, and was suffering from declining health. I had become so pale and had lost so much weight that I went through early cancer screening but nothing was found. I found a new neurologist that was a nerve specialist with several Chiari patients. I think I flunked every phase of my initial examination. My doctor told me pain management was now the treatment, but that I might see benefits from yoga, that I needed to keep moving. Thus I sent my first email to Indra’s Grace. I then made contact over the phone and I knew Sandra was special. Sandra had even taken the time to find information on Chiari.  I was very impressed and very excited.

I started my first session in a chair and got so dizzy I thought I was going to fall out of it during my first breathing exercise. I was staggering all over the place doing basic exercises. Although it was  slow progress, I was amazed that it was progress. I had so many failed medications, long waits for doctor appointments and just time, if that makes any sense. After several years of declining health any progress was fast. A few sessions and my color started coming back. Then my blood pressure went down and I quit blood pressure medications.

So many emotions hit. It was very hard not being able to do simple things, stumbling, falling, and easy fatigue. I was shocked seeing a shadow of my old self. Sandra started turning my sad to hope and determination. My body started getting stronger. Something happened. It was like something turned on. My autonomic nervous system I think? It was to me the impossible.

My pain has lessened. I am now getting worried I will have to diet after gaining so much weight!  Yes, I still have many Chiari symptoms but now I know there is hope. My graduation to group class was fun and interesting. I didn’t get embarrassed; no one cared if I staggered around. Somehow, I hung in there and continued to grow. I have gone from barely hanging in to holding my own.

My cardiologist is very impressed with my progress. I am off my BP medications. He expected to see something on my echocardiogram that most people with central sleep apnea show. He was surprised because nothing showed. My rheumatologist was happy that I was moving better. She is a yoga fan also. And, of course, my neurologist is thrilled. She noticed I wasn’t constantly squirming from pain. Sandra had made that comment a few days before she did. All made the comment that my progress was from nothing they had done.  I had done it on my own. I know better, my progress is due to yoga and Sandra’s help.

I truly look forward to yoga and appreciate how it has helped me and how it will continue to help. No, there is no cure to Chiari but yoga has helped fight the symptoms. Yoga and Sandra have helped my body, mind, and spirit. She is a very special lady.

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