Kelly Stafford opens up, gives first-hand account of brain tumor experience

This past spring, Kelly Stafford got some news that would shake anyone to the core when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Kelly, of course, is the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

As we know, Stafford underwent brain surgery, which six months later, she is still recovering from.

Kelly recently opened up and gave a first-hand account of her brain tumor experience up to this point.


The first moment I was really concerned was last January. I was in Michigan, and had just gotten a massage. When I walked out, I just didn't feel right. I was lightheaded and it felt like the world was spinning around me. I texted Matthew: “I might need you to come pick me up.” But then I waited a little bit in my car, and started feeling better, so I drove home myself.

A week later, it happened again. This time, I was holding our daughter, Hunter, who was just an infant. The room started spinning around me and I felt like I was going to fall down. I almost threw Hunter to Matthew, because I didn't want her to go down with me.

Matthew was obviously concerned. “We can't have this keep happening,” he said. “We need to get you checked out.” He figured I might be dealing with 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.

But you know how things go. Matthew and I have three girls under the age of 2. I had my hands full. As a mom, you're always on the run. You're chasing after your kids or worrying about your family. You tend to put yourself on the backburner. So I didn't feel the urgency to go to the doctor.

The day I almost dropped Hunter, we were heading to California for vacation. At first I resisted because we had so much to do, but Matthew and I went to the ER to get checked out. My blood work looked great. My vitals were fine. Doctors offered to do an MRI, but I said I didn't have time. So they gave me Antivert, which is a medicine for vertigo and we left for vacation. The problem was, the medicine wasn't having any effect on me.

Matthew had looped in the Lions' team doctor, and he scheduled me to get an MRI, about two weeks later, when we were in California.

A few days after the MRI, we got the results. The medical term was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma. There was a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves. I was told I needed to have surgery to remove it. And I was terrified.

To read the rest of Kelly's first-hand account, please click here.