The heartbreaking details of Rams QB Matthew Stafford's wife's brain tumor revealed

Kelly Stafford was diagnosed with a rare tumor in 2019

All eyes will be on Matthew Stafford on Sunday as the Los Angeles Rams quarterback hopes to lead his team to another Super Bowl victory – their first since 1999.

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Matthew was traded to the Rams in 2021 after holding the position of QB for the Detroit Lions, a team that will always hold a special place in the 34-year-old's heart following the support they gave him when his wife, Kelly, was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma, a rare non-cancerous brain tumor, in 2019.

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Kelly shared details of her terrifying health battle in an essay she penned for ESPN back in October 2019. She revealed that shortly after the birth of their third child, daughter Hunter, she began experiencing symptoms like dizziness and almost dropped her daughter during a bad spell.

"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," she wrote.

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Despite feeling "off" for a few weeks, Kelly admitted that she ignored her symptoms. "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 back burner. So, I didn't feel the urgency to go to the doctor," she added.

Kelly was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma

But after being given a prescription for vertigo that failed to help, Kelly underwent an MRI which revealed she had a tumor sitting on her cranial nerves and she would need surgery to remove it.

Kelly was told that there was a 50 percent chance she could lose her hearing and a possibility that she could suffer facial paralysis.

Despite Matthew's busy schedule, Kelly revealed that the Lions were fully supportive of him taking time off to be with his wife.

"I'll say this: Detroit and Michigan really showed up. The Lions were incredible. They told Matthew to take all of the time and space he needed," she wrote.

"And then, there were the fans. The amount of letters that poured into the facility — so many prayers, a lot of holy water — it was remarkable. Matthew joked that our house looked like a bootleg flower shop."

Matthew was by her side throughout her illness

In an Instagram post announcing her diagnosis on 3 April 2019, Kelly wrote: "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."

After a grueling 12-hour surgery, Kelly's tumor was successfully removed, and she luckily still had her ability to hear.

Kelly and Matthew share four daughters

"Here I am," she wrote on Instagram following the operation. "Healthy and alive and beyond grateful for every day. Enjoying my husband and family and getting used to my new norms."

In the same post, Kelly praised her husband, adding: "Thank you Matthew. Thank you for taking care of me and our family and always putting us first. Thank you for always being my rock and keeping me at ease during the toughest time of my life. "I’m lucky to know you and the man you are... but mostly, I’m lucky you chose me to do life with. Thank you."

Kelly was able to make an almost full recovery, later revealing that her "new norms" include not liking "loud, busy restaurants" as much as she used to and having to tell people that she is now slightly "hard of hearing".

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