For certain football fans in the bold north, the name Nick Foles is synonymous with heartbreak (and perhaps a hint of disdain) for what he and the Philadelphia Eagles did to end the Vikings' dream of reaching the Super Bowl this past season.
But a story by CNN's Sandee LaMotte stirred up a few other feelings about the Eagles quarterback. Things like compassion, respect, even admiration. That's because, as LaMotte details, when he's not carving up NFL defenses, Nick spends his time cheering for and supporting his wife, Tori, as she continues her comeback from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, a mysterious but increasingly common autonomic nervous system disorder. She began experiencing symptoms of the condition soon after the couple started dating, and that eventually brought them to Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus. "It's crazy, we spent a whole month at the Mayo Clinic," Nick told reporters before last year's Super Bowl. "We got engaged at the Mayo Clinic, we got married at a courthouse two months later because we knew we were in for a run."
That run, as Tori details in her personal blog, began with a sudden onset of nearly constant fatigue, nausea, dizziness and gastrointestinal issues when she was 23. "I ignored them for a few weeks, brushing them off as fatigue from work and the hot summer," she writes.
But when her symptoms worsened, Tori went to a string of doctors, who couldn't pinpoint a cause for her symptoms. Things came to a head in January 2014 when Tori began to feel "worse than ever," prompting her to make her first appointment at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus. "I had heard about a specialist in autonomic dysfunction there who was really great," she writes.
That specialist was Mayo Clinic neurologist Brent Goodman, M.D. "He asked several questions and was a phenomenal listener," Tori writes. "He wanted to hear everything so that he could run the proper tests and figure out how to help me best." The following day, Dr. Goodman put Tori through extensive autonomic testing, which led to her diagnosis.
Though no cure yet exists for POTS, in the years since, Tori has changed her diet and lifestyle to help control her symptoms. She also does whatever she can to raise awareness about POTS and how it's diagnosed. Nick has been helping, too, LaMotte writes, by dedicating a chapter of his new book, "Believe It," to Tori's diagnosis and treatments. "We've gone through this journey and it's put everything into perspective," he tells LaMotte. "We're keeping our priorities straight, our faith, our family, then whatever comes after that. Football is down the list because we have our priorities straight." (He seems to be doing OK there, however.)
You can read more on Tori's blog. Then let us know what you think by sharing your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.