Kelly Stafford Has Brain Tumor, Asks For Prayers Before Surgery

She found out this winter.

April 03, 2019 - 11:11 am
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In an Instagram post Wednesday morning, Kelly Stafford, wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, announced she has a brain tumor and will undergo surgery to remove it. 

Her formal diagnosis is acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma, a very rare type of benign tumor that develops on the nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain, per the MayoClinic. It can cause hearing loss, loss of balance, dizziness and facial numbness.

If treated properly -- in this case, surgically removed -- it is generally not considered life-threatening. 

Kelly said she first experienced symptoms over the last year when "I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class and immediately feel dizzy (and) off balance." She and Matthew have three young girls.

Her first spell of vertigo came in January. When the vertigo persisted, the Lions team doctor recommended Kelly get an MRI of her brain, which delivered the daunting news. She shared the MRI in her Instagram post. 

This is a picture of Matthew & I the day we found out. I said I wanted this picture of us, so that the day this was all over, we could look back at this photo & remember. Within the last year, I began to notice things that I thought was just me getting older.. 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 beginning of Jan was when I experienced my first spell of vertigo..It kept happening & then it happened while I was holding Hunter. Matthew took me straight to the ER. They checked vitals & bloodwork, all were fine.. Several vertigo spells later, Matthew’s team doctor recommended we go get an MRI of my brain to rule everything major out. A few days later we were hit with the results. I had a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves. The medical term they used was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma 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. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery. I am. 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. 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. -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. Thank u. Thank u for reading this novel. thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers.

A post shared by Kelly Stafford (@kbstafford89) on

"All I heard was brain tumor (and) that they had to do surgery to take it out, so that is what we are going to do (and) we believe we found the best doctor to do it," Kelly wrote on Instagram. "I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery. I am. 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. Things to pray for: calmness in these next 2 weeks as I know anxiety will run high in myself and my whole family leading up to the day of surgery, that God be in the room with the surgeons (and) give them all the guidance, steadiness, (and) confidence they need, my safety during and after surgery, and 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. Thank u."