Kelly Stafford, wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, posted on social media Wednesday morning she needs surgery to remove a brain tumor.
"A few days later we were hit with the results, I had a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves," Kelly wrote on Instagram. "The medical term they used was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma."
According to the Mayo Clinic, an acoustic neuroma is noncancerous and usually slow-growing tumor that develops on the main (vestibular) nerve leading from your inner ear to your brain. Branches of this nerve directly influence your balance and hearing, and pressure from an acoustic neuroma can cause hearing loss, ringing in your ear and unsteadiness."
Kelly noted in her post she's been struggling with her balance for the past year and recently experienced spells of vertigo in January. That ultimately resulted in the MRI that identified the tumor.
"All I heard was brain tumor and that they had to do surgery to take it out," Kelly wrote. "So that is what we are going to do and 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," she continued. "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."
The Lions in a statement Wednesday said they "fully support Kelly, Matthew and the entire Stafford family during this difficult time. Over the years, 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.
"On behalf of the Stafford family, we ask that everyone respect the privacy of the situation at this time.”
The Staffords met at the University of Georgia, where Matthew was a quarterback and Kelly a cheerleader. The couple married in 2015 and have three children, 2-year-old twins Chandler and Sawyer and baby Hunter, born last August.