Simple Kindness

These last few days, leading up to this morning, I have been filled with stress and anxiety over the neurology appointment scheduled for this morning. I could not imagine how the appointment would go – whether good or bad. My prayers over the appointment have been simple. I feel like sometimes I do not even have the words to to pray what I am feeling. My prayer was for a kind and understanding doctor and a clear next step.

Those prayers were answered! The neurologist was so kind and gentle. He listened. I brought my notes compiled from all my symptoms, that I am always asked to keep. He went over all of the symptoms with me and asked me follow up questions.

He started the appointment by telling me that he spent some time reading through my records and that he thought he had a good idea of what’s been happening. We talked about Chiari Malformation and he asked a ton of questions about my symptoms before surgery and how they have changed after surgery. He did a physical exam and then I gave him my printed notes I brought.

He took a few minutes to read them and the said that my symptoms are “intriguingly frustrating”. We discussed the symptoms and he did another physical exam and said that he would like to do some more testing. I am still waiting for the EEG that was ordered at the last appointment, they gave me the number to call and check in with that.

The neurologist also placed an order for a four hour neurocognitive test to evaluate and get a baseline of where my cognitive symptoms are at.

The neurologist did not give me a diagnosis or share too much of what he was thinking. I really appreciate and respect that, especially after having so many misdiagnosis’s and doctors jumping to wrong conclusions, or thinking out loud. I follow up with him in three months.

The after visit notes were the most comprehensive I have seen. He restated the key parts of my notes I brought and summarized my new symptoms really clearly. In his notes he wrote that he thought I would benefit in the future with a multidisciplinary team approach because of the complexity.

While I still do not have a solid answer, I do have a next step and I felt heard by the neurologist. Thank you to everyone for your steady prayers and encouragement.



“But the LORD stood with me and strengthened me.” – 2 Timothy 4:17

Speak to My Heart

There was a breakthrough this week!

I am grateful to share good news! Physically, this week has been a rough one. I’ve been struggling with a migraine, nausea, head pain, numbness and tingling and a heavy fatigue. I had the infusion clinic on Monday, physical therapy and did my second round of the Emgality injection on Tuesday. I’m really working hard on building my neck muscles and I’m sure that has contributed to the headaches. 

Now the good news -A few days ago, we followed up with calling the neurology department (my primary care’s office asked us to) and requesting a conversation with the manager to discuss my last appointment. We put a request in and they said it would take a few days to get back to us. That was no problem to me because my hopes were pretty low. I’ve been feeling a lot of despair over this whole situation. 

Yesterday afternoon, we got a call back from the manager of neurology and neurosurgery wanting to hear what we had to say. We spent over an hour on the phone with her and shared with the whole story of my diagnosis and the lack of care I’ve had. I was getting restless during the call, I felt a sinking feeling descend on me and dread over the outcome. 

My physical therapist said that I should ask about a “care coordinator”. I have talked with my primary care’s office and asked about a case manager they said that is for people with a chronic diagnosis. Afterwards we realized that would still apply to me. I’ve just been coming up against so many roadblocks. 

The woman we talked with yesterday was so kind and understanding. We told her that I want the inaccuracy in the notes from my appointment fixed or a note in there saying it was inaccurate. We also went over how I have been stuck going back and forth between being sent to neurology and neurosurgery. 

She listened to us and then laid out her plan. She asked if she could scheduled me for an appointment with a neurologist who is new to our system, but has a ton of experience as a neurologist. She said he is known for his bedside manner and would listen. She said that’s who she would send her child to see. She also said she would have a pre meeting with him to go over all my notes and records before I met with him. 

She asked if I wanted to look him up and research him and then call her back to schedule. I just wanted to schedule, I’m tired of waiting.

She told me that she will be my advocate in the system and to call her for anything. 

The appointment she scheduled me for is this Thursday!! I was not expecting it to be that soon. 

I am still wanting to be hopeful, but I’m feeling cautious. I am praying this time will be different and a step in the right direction. Please be praying with me for this appointment. I have been listening to Austin French’s song Rest For Your Soul because it speaks to my heart. I have been feeling so troubled and weary over everything. I am praying for change and waiting on a miracle, with a list of unanswered questions. I never imagined that I would be diagnosed wit a chronic neurological condition or have brain surgery. This is not the life I imagined for myself or wanted. It has really been weighing on my mind and heart and I just feel weary and burdened. I am clinging to the promises of God. That He will be my shelter and my peace. That I will find rest for my soul and a peace in Him, because I do not carry this alone.

Are you tired and troubled?
Weighed down by a heavy load?
Praying for change, searching for faith
Waiting on a miracle

Are you drowning in questions?
Can’t believe where the road has lead
There’s one who knows, the heavy you hold
And He says

“Come to me
All who are weary and heavy burdened
All who are hurting
Come to me
I’ll be your shelter
My yoke is easy, my load is light
And you can find rest for your soul
Rest for your soul”

There’s a peace that can hold you
And a power greater than your own
When you feel so small, back to the wall
That’s when Jesus calls

“Come to me
All who are weary and heavy burdened
All who are hurting
Come to me
I’ll be your shelter
My yoke is easy, my load is light
And you can find rest for your soul
Rest for your soul”

You were never meant to carry that weight alone
You were never meant to carry it on your own
Come to the cross, lay it at the feet of Jesus
Come to the cross, lay it at the feet of Jesus
There is one who knows, the heavy you hold
And He says

“Come to me
All who are weary and heavy burdened
All who are hurting (hurting)
Come to me (come)
I’ll be your shelter (I’ll be your shelter)
My yoke is easy (ooh)
My load is light (my load is light)
And you can find rest for your soul (rest for your soul)
Rest for your soul” (rest)

“Rest for your soul (rest for your soul)
Rest for your soul
And you can find rest”

Rest For Your Soul, song by Austin French

Valley of Blessings

It is hard to believe that it has been four weeks (yesterday) since surgery. It feels like it happened yesterday. 

My pain is under control for the most part, my neck still bothers me a lot and there are times where I feel like I can feel every strand of hair on my head. I have started to go off all the meds, which means I am able to start sleeping through the night. Before, I had to wake up several times each night for different meds. I am working hard now on getting my sleep routine back to normal. I am still taking naps, although not as much as before. 

The Physical Therapist, at the hospital in Colorado, told me that this next year is going to be a year of unpredictable energy. He said that my first milestone would be two weeks and then four. I have hit the fourth week and I am now able to wash with shampoo that’s not baby shampoo.  My hair is so happy now! I have a lot of hair and it didn’t like being washed with baby shampoo. I have lost a lot of hair and there has been lots of breakage. I am thinking about cutting some layers to blend it all together.

My next milestone is my first physical therapy appointment next week, which will mark five weeks from the surgery. They warned me at the hospital that there is still a ton of movement that I still cannot do right now, so not to feel discouraged when there is not much they are doing with me at the appointment. 

A year ago, I would never have imagined that I would have brain surgery. There are moments where it does not feel real. It feels like a dream or a passing thought. Then I run my fingers over my scar and feel my hair that is growing back. It is still hard to believe all that has happened in such a short amount of time, for something that has been a struggle for almost 6 years. 

It is a full year of recovery and I may not know what symptoms have/will clear up until this next year has passed. While surgery relives a lot of the symptoms, it is still not a cure. The neurosurgeon warned me that not all my symptoms may go away and some of my symptoms he said may or may not be caused by Chiari. It is hard to know for sure. Some of the side effects of the medications I’ve been taking, since the surgery, mimic Chiari symptoms. As I continue to heal and move away from all of the medications that layer will be lifted too

I am very hopeful though. I feel that surgery has already helped, even though I still feel some symptoms. I must keep reminding myself that I have a year to recover and heal. The brain fog I was having seems to be gone. I already feel more present in the moment, despite the exhaustion.  

God has been so good to me through all of this. I have seen Him moving when everything seemed not to be moving at all. He has reminded me of His love for me through those around me. All of you who have and continue to pray for me, thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. 

When my family and I first began discussing the possibility of making multiple trips to Colorado, the expenses required seemed out of reach. I had already made multiple trips to Seattle to meet with the neurosurgeon there and hit a dead end. I knew from the beginning that it would be different in Colorado, but I still didn’t know what it would like like. When we seriously discussed it and prayed about it, my mom said she felt confident that God would provide. Though so many of you, He has. Several times a donation would unexpectedly come in to meet the immediate need that we were facing. Often in the exact amount that was needed. God’s hand has so clearly guided this journey. Thank you to everyone who helped me financially. I feel so blessed and somewhat overwhelmed. I am still waiting to find out the full extend of the medical bills

Please continue to pray for me. I am still uncomfortable and in some pain. It is a hard adjustment to not be able to move and do as much stuff as I usually do. It is hard to watch life move on for everyone around me and then feel like it is moving really slow for me. Pray also that I would get some rest. I am still not sleeping through the night. My biggest request is patience for healing. The doctors said this would be a time of quiet rest and recovery, but I have not felt the rest lately. I am still waking up several time night and feel exhausted during the day.

I have been looking for the small blessings in each day. The last few days have been super sunny and warm. I have been able to sit outside on a blanket and enjoy the weather and the purple Chiari garden my mom and Isla planted for me. Watching it grow and and blossom has been a beautiful thing to look forward to watch.

May God bless you,

Shae Sobottke

I Needed The Quiet

I needed the quiet so He drew me aside,
Into the shadows where we could confine
Away from the bustle where all the long day
I hurried and worried when active and strong.

I need the quiet though at first I rebelled
But gently, so gently, my cross He upheld,
And whispered so sweetly of Spiritual things
Though weakened in body, my spirit took wings,
To heights never dreamed of when active and gay.
He loves me so greatly He drew me away.

I needed the quiet. No prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead - 
A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide.
I needed the quiet so He drew me aside.

~ Alice Hansche Mortenson