Kelly Stafford announced her diagnosis in an emotional Instagram post on Wednesday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 04, 2019 01:19 PM
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Matthew and Kelly Stafford
| Credit: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty

Kelly Stafford, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s wife, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will undergo surgery, she announced in an emotional Instagram post on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, the 29-year-old began to experience severe bouts of vertigo while spending time with the couple’s two daughters, Chandler and Sawyer.

“I began to notice things that I thought was just me getting older,” wrote Kelly, who also shares a son, Hunter, with Matthew. “I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class and immediately feel dizzy & off balance… Things that I had been doing my entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult.”

The symptoms eventually led Kelly to have an MRI on her brain at the recommendation of a Lions team doctor, and the scan revealed she had a benign tumor, known as an acoustic neuroma, on her cranial nerves.

In order to remove the tumor, doctors recommended Kelly have surgery — which has left her “completely terrified.”

“All I heard was brain tumor & that they had to do surgery to take it out… so that is what we are going to do & we believe we found the best doctor to do it,” she said. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery. I am.”

She added: “I am terrified of them opening my head, I’m terrified of losing my hearing, I’m terrified of losing facial function, I’m terrified of far worse things that could happen and I’m terrified that I won’t take the time I need to recover because the guilt I might feel of being absent from my kids for too long… I am telling y’all this to ask for prayers and support.”

Surgery for acoustic neuroma typically is performed under anesthesia, and “involves removing the tumor through the inner ear or through a window in [the] skull,” Mayo Clinic explained.

“The entire tumor may not be able to be completely removed in certain cases. For example, if the tumor is too close to important parts of the brain or the facial nerve,” a page on the clinic’s website reads. “Sometimes, surgical removal of the tumor may worsen symptoms if the hearing, balance or facial nerves are damaged during the operation.”

Kelly’s surgery will occur sometime in the next two weeks.

Credit: AP/REX/Shutterstock

The Lions — which Matthew, 31, joined in 2009 — issued a statement on social media following the news.

“The Detroit lions fully support Kelly, Matthew and the entire Stafford family during this difficult time,” the team stated. “Over the year, their selfless commitment to helping others and improving the communities in which we live and work has made a lasting impact on the lives of so many. We thank everyone for the outpouring of support.”

In her post, which has received more than 68,000 likes and dozens of comments from well-wishers, Kelly asked for prayers of support heading into her operation.

“Things to pray for: calmness in these next 2 weeks as I know anxiety will run high in myself & my whole family leading up to the day of surgery,” she wrote, “that God be in the room with the surgeons & give them all the guidance, steadiness, & confidence they need. My safety during and after surgery.

“Please pray for Matthew as I know his nerves will be high during this surgery. I couldn’t imagine being out in that waiting room,” she added. “Thank u. Thank u for reading this novel. thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers.”