Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, found out she had a brain tumor earlier this year and underwent a procedure to have it removed in April. While she has done interviews about her harrowing experience, she recently wrote an article for ESPN that reveals how she found out about the tumor and how she currently feels. Stafford starts by sharing that she felt lightheaded a few times in January and the thought was she was suffering from vertigo.
"Looking back, there were other moments over the past year where I was feeling "off." Like when I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class, then immediately felt dizzy, or like I couldn't balance. I mean, those were things I had done my entire life, and suddenly they were difficult. Maybe I'm just aging, I had figured at the time. My mom quickly shot that down. I wasn't even 30," Stafford wrote.
She went on to say she had an MRI done and she was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma. She wrote there was a tumor on her cranial nerves and she needed to have surgery to remove it which terrified her.
"What if this thing gets taken out and something goes wrong? What if something happens before that? My biggest fear is not being here, and not being here to raise my girls," Stafford wrote.
Once she had the surgery, there was a long recovery process. Stafford talked about being exhausted constantly, having a hard time dealing with noise and learning the walk. Stafford still has a long way to go but had she waited longer to get checked out, she could be in a much worse situation.
"Dr. [Greg] Thompson said the fact I listened to myself early on is what saved my hearing (and to be honest, I should have listened earlier). The longer I would have waited, the tumor would have grown, and my hearing would have been gone. That's what usually brings people in," she wrote.
What Kelly has gone through this year has motivated Matthew to play well on the field. So far this season, Matthew has completed 62 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,122 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.