Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles’ book, “Believe It,” hits stores today. It gives inside details on his unlikely journey to Super Bowl glory, why he nearly retired, and how his faith in Jesus guides him daily.
It also includes a chapter on his wife, Tori, and her struggles with POTS, a little-known disorder called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. It’s a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls the involuntary functions of the body, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, breathing, blinking and urination. The most common symptoms are fatigue, gastrointestinal issues and near-constant lightheadedness.
Tori was diagnosed when she was 23, but not after doctors struggled to assess what was going on.
“They told me I had a virus, but I had never heard of one where you are dizzy all the time,” she told CNN. “There were a lot of times I couldn’t get out of bed.”
Thank you to Dysautonomia International for giving us the opportunity to speak about our journey with POTS. We are passionate about creating awareness for an illness that is very misdiagnosed and misunderstood. For me, it was extremely moving to see so many pots patients at the conference who might appear “normal,” but struggle with the illness every day and yet built up the courage to travel to the conference and learn more about how they can improve. I understand firsthand what it’s like to deal with POTS and to feel isolated and frustrated about the lack of answers there are for dealing with it. However, I also know how much I’ve Improved and how investing in educating myself on the body, the mind and nutrition can help. Not only that, but harvesting the will and the desire to keep moving forward and trusting God that He is constantly at work through my weakness allows me to not be victimized by this illness, but to instead keep striving forward. We aspire to spread hope and awareness, and the will to keep moving forward as we all continue to search for a cure and better ways to manage Dysautonomia. #dysautonomia #pots #awareness #nickfoles #chronicillness #nashville #togetherwerock
Tori and Nick began dating after college at the University of Arizona, where he was the football team’s quarterback and she was the volleyball team’s setter. He was there when she was diagnosed, and it had no impact on them being married in 2014.
“It’s crazy, we spent a whole month at the Mayo Clinic,” Nick told the media before the Super Bowl in February. “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. We’ve never had a wedding ceremony, we’ve never had a honeymoon, but … just to see her strength, and to see her determination and her health continue to improve … it’s amazing. It gives me strength because I know she deals with it every single day. I’m grateful that I get to go on this life journey with her.”
“One of the hardest parts was Nick was at the top of his career and our life together was just beginning,” Tori said. “But mine was now at rock bottom.”
The Foles are intent on raising awareness about the disorder. Doctors believe between 1 and 3 million Americans are affected by POTS, but the number could be much higher considering very few doctors are knowledgable about the symptoms. It took Tori only six weeks to get a diagnosis; one survey found that most people saw an average of seven different doctors over an average of four years before getting a POTS diagnosis.
Tori also feels blessed in that she was able to have a baby. Their daughter, Lily James, was born in June 2017.
“I always knew I wanted to have children, but there were days I couldn’t take care of myself,” Tori said, “so how could I take care of a baby? … I’ve had to be more disciplined in order to take care of her. Having a system and routine is important.”
As is faith, which Nick reaffirms is No. 1 in their lives.
“We’ve gone through this journey and it’s put everything into perspective,” he said. “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.”
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