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"A true friend knows your weaknesses, but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities" -William Arthur Ward

This has been one of my favorite quotes for sometime, I am truly blessed to have people in my life that do just that. While this journey has been isolating, I've never felt alone, even in the loneliest moments.  My faith, my dog, Pancake and my degree have been the greatest gift for continued forward movement. My mom's selflessness and support, endless. 

This disease has taken so much- my ability to practice medicine, earn an income, my reliability, functional capacity, financial stability; Has led to medical bankruptcy, job loss, disability and brought to question my ability to have children in the future. It has been multifaceted- mentally, emotionally, professionally, physically, financially and spiritually taxing. Despite it all, God has provided every step of the way. He continues to provide means to sustain. While there has been such loss in lifestyle, career and independence; I've never lost focus, changing my personal expectations and setting small attainable goals each day...focusing on the things I can control, like my attitude.


I am absolutely a product of the amazing people in my life and my incredible rehab team.  Without the generosity of all of you, there is no way I could have kept pursuing a diagnosis. This has been a costly journey, filled with much uncertainty. Hopefully it can be used to help encourage and bring strength to those who might also be suffering...hopefully this website can aid in my healing and the rebuilding of my life. Whatever that may be, I know God has a plan. Thank you for all the continued prayers for healing. Being such an under-recognized disease in the medical community, the diagnosis and journey has been anything but accommodating. 

Dr. Breitschwerdt warned me this will be a battle... but I'm ready!!


No matter what we endure, our response, perspective and dedication to rebuilding is paramount,

Never lose your sense of self or self-worth.  Adversity is inevitable. You will heal. - me


Thank you to NC State, Intracellular Pathogens Research Lab and Dr. Ed Brietschwerdt for your decades of research, generosity and ingenuity that led to my diagnosis!

Thank you to Dr. Barter and Dr. Carstensen for taking on my case.  Thank you for your time and expertise...and for giving me a chance at healing.  You are truly saving my life. 

Thank you to Dr. Daniel Kinderlehrer for your generosity, advocacy expertise and advice. Thank you for changing the trajectory of my fate by recommending Dr. Julie M Barter. She has been a God send and thank you will never be enough. 

To the very (very) small handful of specialists who genuinely tried to find an underlying diagnosis within their field and did not dismiss my concerns, THANK YOU!  Your efforts meant more to me than you could ever know. 


TO all who donated to my GoFundMe Page and externally- THANK YOU! We now know why I’ve been plagued by injury after injury. You are the reason I was able to afford any of this care, this treatment, all additional OOP blood panels for advanced infectious disease testing and the specialists not covered by Colorado Medicaid! YOU ARE AMAZING, I AM SO HUMBLED.  Every donation went directly toward medical care, leading me here! Thank you!

Thank you, amazing family and best friends for your unwavering trust and support. Your prayers. You really make me feel so capable. Please accept my apology for not sharing more of my struggle, it was a self-preservation thing allowing me to grieve, accept, move on and streamline focus on the areas we can control.  My mom has sacrificed so much to assist me during all this- She moved in with me in 2018 and has seen me at my worst, days where I can only make it to the couch, then bed, taken care of household chores/cooking/cleaning and accompanied me to all doc appts. 

To all my medical friends who I leaned on during various stages of this process as a sounding board, giving me strength and validity of concern to keep fighting for an answer... even when you didn’t understand the process...THANK YOU!



Who I am:

Christian - Friend - Sister - Daughter - Pancake - Cat - Outdoor and Nature Enthusiast - Grateful - Searching for beauty in every moment - Focused - Always appreciating the simple things - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Small Animal Emergency - Bachelors of Science in Human Sciences - Contributing Associate Author - Animal Advocate - Woman of Integrity and Faith - Photographer - Heart for Serving, one of Science and Discovery - Blessed - Slightly Jaded - Still single - Exhausted but motivated

Picture of Nicole Vumbaco with her dog, Pancake

My best girl, Pancake!!

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