Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, has revealed that she has a brain tumor.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, the 29-year-old wrote that she had been dizzy and out of balance for the past year.
After months of dizziness and doctors unable to figure out what was wrong, Kelly was diagnosed with a non-cancerous mass known as an acoustic neuroma.
Because the tumor is on a nerve that comes directly from the brain and affects her hearing, she must undergo surgery to remove it.
Kelly Stafford, 29, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (pictured together, left and right), said she had been dizzy and out of balance for the past year. She suffered her first vertigo spell in January, but when she went to First Aid, doctors couldn't find anything wrong and sent her home
After having had some dizzying spells, Matthew suggested that Kelly have an MRI & # 39; to arrange everything that turns out great & # 39 ;. Pictured: Matthew and Kelly with their three children, the two-year-old twin Chandler and Sawyer, and the seven-month-old Hunter
Kelly said her first vertigo spell was in January, and she was immediately dragged by her husband to first aid, according to the Instagram post.
Doctors assumed their vital functions and ordered blood work that all returned to normal, so that the Staffords were sent home.
But Kelly remained dizzy for weeks, and Matthew suggested she would have an MRI to arrange everything that would turn out to be big & # 39 ;.
A few days later, doctors told her she had an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor that forms on the eighth skull nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain.
Pressure from the tumor on the nerve can cause hearing loss and ringing in the ears and affect balance.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of an acoustic neuroma can take several years, but may include gradual hearing loss, ringing in the ears, poor balance, dizziness and numbness in the face.
The tumor is caused by a mutation of a gene on chromosome 22, but the cause of the mutation is unclear.
If the acoustic neuroma is small and has few or no symptoms, doctors may suggest that it be easily monitored until another treatment is needed.
However, sometimes surgery is necessary, with the aim of maintaining hearing and preventing facial paralysis.
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, around 2500 new patients are diagnosed each year.
A few days after the MRI, Kelly (pictured with Matthew, left and right) was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor that forms on the eighth skull nerve that leads from the inner ear to the brain. Pressure from the tumor on the nerve can cause hearing loss and ringing in the ears and affect balance
Kelly was told to undergo surgery in the coming weeks and asked her Instagram followers for their prayers and support. Shown: a scan of Kelly & # 39; s tumor
Kelly was told to undergo surgery and told her that she believes she has found the best doctor to perform the procedure.
& # 39; I would lie if I said I was not terrified of brain surgery. That's me, & she wrote in the post, which has more than 49,000 likes.
# I am terrified that they open my head, I am terrified of losing my hearing, I am terrified of losing sight, I am terrified of much worse things that can happen and I am terrified of not taking time that I need to recover because I feel guilty that I have been absent from my children for too long. & # 39;
She also asked her followers for prayers and support during her time of need.
Kelly and Matthew met as students at the University of Georgia, where Matthew played football, before being called as the number 1 choice in the 2009 NFL draw, and Kelly was a cheerleader.
They married in 2015 and have three daughters together, the two-year-old twins Chandler and Sawyer, and the seven-month-old Hunter.
Matthew signed a $ 135 million contract extension in 2017 with the Lions, making him the best-paid player in the NFL the moment before he was surpassed by division rival quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.