Kelly Stafford, wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, is on the mend one month after undergoing a 12-hour surgery to remove a benign brain tumor — but the healing process isn’t without its complications.
The 29-year-old mom of three daughters opened up a side effect from her April surgery, during which doctors removed an acoustic neuroma which had been causing her to experience vertigo. In a raw post shared to Instagram, Stafford told followers that she has been experiencing facial weakness on the right side of her face, which she admits makes her feel “extremely, EXTREMELY insecure.”
Stafford shared photos of herself before the surgery alongside post-surgery selfies from a wedding she recently attended (in a blue dress with her hair worn down) to illustrate how her smile has changed as a result of the weakness.
“I wish I could tell you it didn’t bother me, that I haven’t cried about it,” she wrote. “But I want to be transparent and truthful about this entire process, the good and the bad ... and to be honest I’m extremely, EXTREMELY insecure about this. I see it in my eyes and in my smile. Every time I laugh I cover my mouth because that’s when it’s most noticeable ... that’s when I’m most vulnerable.”
Stafford added that it will be another six to 12 months before doctors can determine if the weakness, which prevents her right eye from closing all the way shut, is permanent.
“If this is permanent, I know eventually I will be OK with it,” she shared. “I may sound superficial with this post and don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful that I am here and healing ... but I want to be upfront and honest.”
Her candor prompted followers to offer support and share their own experiences with facial weakness due to conditions like Bell’s palsy.
“I think it’s absolutely beautiful,” read one comment. “You are absolutely beautiful. And so is your story. Your soul speaks volumes ... and it’s pure beauty to me.”
“You are so strong and so beautiful,” gushed another commenter. “It’s important to give yourself space to mourn any type of loss and it seems like you're allowing yourself to do that. Praying for FULL restoration and recovery.”
“I'm sure many who know you will agree that the spirit behind that smile hasn't changed,” read another reassuring comment.
Facial weakness aside, Stafford ended her post on a positive note, telling supporters, “My balance is improving every day and my good days are greatly outnumbering my bad.”
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