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

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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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This is a picture of Matthew & I the day we found out. I said I wanted this picture of us, so that the day this was all over, we could look back at this photo & remember. Within the last year, I began to notice things that I thought was just me getting older.. I would show my girls how to do a front roll or twirl in ballet class and immediately feel dizzy & off balance… Things that I had been doing my entire life were now, all of a sudden, difficult. The beginning of Jan was when I experienced my first spell of vertigo..It kept happening & then it happened while I was holding Hunter. Matthew took me straight to the ER. They checked vitals & bloodwork, all were fine.. Several vertigo spells later, Matthew’s team doctor recommended we go get an MRI of my brain to rule everything major out. A few days later we were hit with the results. I had a tumor sitting on some of my cranial nerves. The medical term they used was an acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma.. All I heard was brain tumor & that they had to do surgery to take it out.. so that is what we are going to do & 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. 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. 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. -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. Thank u for reading this novel. thank u for all your support and most importantly, thank u for your prayers.

A post shared by Kelly Stafford (@kbstafford89) on


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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.”


https://www.instagram.com/p/BwiUb2uho-C/

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.”

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I honestly don’t know where to start. This is him, the man God chose to remove my brain tumor. After my diagnosis, Matthew and I visited doctors all over the US. He made it a super easy decision after we met Dr. Thompson @ the U of M hospital. Dr. Thompson not only had done about 2000 acoustic neuroma cases & had published outstanding results when attempting to preserve facial & hearing function w/ the surgery, but….when I spoke w/ him, he reminded me of my dad. He truly cared & was empathetic, which meant so much to me. The 6 hr surgery turned to 8, then 10, then 12 hrs & he was constantly updating Matthew throughout. When he opened me up, he saw an ”anomalous” artery that is normally not there. 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! Matthew said when Dr. Thompson came up to give him the run down, he was excited for how well it went & that it was a total “team victory” for which they hugged it out for a while. 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). This team is my dream team.. like the ‘92 bulls with DR. Thompson as my MJ & Dr. Telian, my Scottie pippen.. MVP’s of their craft. After the surgery, Dr. Thompson visited every day. When I ended up back in the hospital, he drove an hour from Ann Arbor to the hospital where I was to physically put eyes on me & make sure I was ok. His NP said he is like that for all his patients.. I mean how amazing is that? I will forever be in debt to this man & his team. I can’t express how grateful I am for him.. his kindness, empathy, patience, knowledge, & steady hands. Thank u Dr. Thompson, thank u so much to u & your team.

A post shared by Kelly Stafford (@kbstafford89) on


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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