Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, is asking for prayers after revealing that she has a brain tumor and will be undergoing surgery to remove it.
She wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday that she is "completely terrified" of the surgery and of the possible side effects of removing a benign tumor known as an acoustic neuroma that is sitting on her cranial nerves.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t completely terrified of brain surgery,'' she wrote. "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."
Many of Stafford's current and former Detroit Lions teammates and fellow NFL players expressed their support in the comments on her post.
The Staffords have three children together: 2-year-old twins Chandler and Sawyer, and baby daughter Hunter, who was born in August. They have been married since 2015 after first meeting as students at the University of Georgia, where Matthew starred at quarterback before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Kelly wrote that she first noticed something was wrong when she began experiencing dizziness in the past year while demonstrating ballet moves for their children.
She then had a spell of vertigo while holding the couple's baby daughter earlier this year, leading to Matthew taking her to the emergency room. The results of magnetic resonance imaging led to the diagnosis of a tumor.
"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...Thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers."
There are more than 120 types of brain and central nervous system tumors, ranging from benign to malignant, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma include hearing loss in one ear, vertigo, tinnitus, tingling in the face, balance problems and a lack of coordination.
The intent of the surgery is to remove the tumor without causing hearing loss or damage to the seventh cranial nerve, which controls facial movement, according to the NBTS.