Lifestyle & Human Interest

NFL Star's Wife Praises Brain Tumor Doctor That She Says Saved Her Hearing


Life in the spotlight is never easy, much less when you are faced with serious health problems that threaten to disrupt the lives of your family.

Kelly Stafford, wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, has been chronicling the details of her recent health scare in a series of social media posts.

Earlier this year, Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumor after experiencing bad episodes of vertigo. She shared in an April 3 Instagram post that the problems had begun in January.

“Matthew’s team doctor recommended we go get an MRI of my brain to rule everything major out,” Kelly said. “A few days later we were hit with the results.”
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Kelly had a benign tumor in her brain that was sitting on some of her cranial nerves.

After the diagnosis, Kelly and Matthew visited doctors all over the country to decide who would perform the procedure.

That’s when they met Dr. B. Gregory Thompson at the University of Michigan hospital. He had worked on about 2,000 similar cases, and had published outstanding results when attempting to preserve facial and hearing functions during surgery.

Kelly said in a May 7 Instagram post of her and Dr Thompson, “When I spoke (with) him, he reminded me of my dad. He truly cared & was empathetic, which meant so much to me.”

On April 17, Kelly underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but the six-hour surgery turned into a 12-hour ordeal due to the discovery of an abnormal artery. Despite the complication, Dr. Thompson knew exactly what to do.

In her Instagram post, Kelly said “In his 2000 cases, he had seen it ONE other time. BUT bc it was so rare, he & his team wrote a paper on it for other surgeons. Then, God sent him me & although surprised when he cut in to see the artery, he was confident & prepared. He took his time & was patient. There was a moment when they thought I might have lost my hearing completely. He made everyone & everything stop, they all sat, & waited for some time … the audio wave returned. His patience saved my hearing, as well as my face. You read right, he PRESERVED MY HEARING!

Kelly said that Matthew had been embraced by Dr. Thompson after his positive report of the surgery, and that Thompson described the procedure as being “a total team victory.”

Dr. Thompson refused to take sole credit for the success. “He kept giving credit to his team which included, Dr. Telian (ENT), Dr. Joseph (neuro chief resident) Dr. Welch (ENT Fellow) & Jane (Dr. Thompson’s NP),” Kelly said.

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Dr. Thompson also made sure to visit Kelly every day after her surgery, and when she ended up back in the hospital for complications, he drove an hour from Ann Arbor to make sure he could see her personally. “I will forever be in debt to this man & his team,” Kelly said. “I can’t express how grateful I am for him … his kindness, empathy, patience, knowledge, & steady hands.”

Kelly is incredibly thankful to Dr. Thompson and his team for preserving her hearing during the long surgery, and is happy to be able to spend many more years hearing the voices of her husband and three daughters.

She is honest about the difficulties facing her during her recovery, sharing about the challenges as a mother to her Instagram followers.

“It’s tough to go from a very active woman to having to relearn the basics of being an athlete, but these little girls give me so much strength.”

Through it all, Kelly has kept her attitude positive, and strives to encourage anyone going through their own health battles.

“My prayers are to anyone fighting something medical and out of their control right now,” she shared in a recent social media post. “There are things far, far, far worse than I am going through and the people getting through their everyday life while battling through those things … y’all are true heroes, all my prayers are with y’all.”

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