Reflections on Mark Ruffalo’s Handling of a Brain Tumor Diagnosis in the Past

The events leading up to Mark Ruffalo’s first fatherhood are quite the story. In a recent episode of the “Smartless” podcast co-hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett, Ruffalo opened up about a terrifying dream he had over 20 years ago, when he and Sunrise Coigney were expecting their son Keen. The dream came true, and it was terrifying.

The elder Ruffalo claims that his son woke up from “this crazy dream, you know, it wasn’t like any other dream I ever had.” He was about a week into filming “The Last Castle” alongside Robert Redford and James Gandolfini.

It was just like, ‘You have a brain tumor.’ It wasn’t even a voice,” Ruffalo recalled. “It was just pure knowledge: ‘You have a brain tumor, and you have to deal with it immediately.’” he actor claimed he had “a sense of doom” and opted to visit a doctor nevertheless, even though he had no history of symptoms other than an ear infection.

He stated that the doctor had ordered a scan for him. “The nurse calls the doctor out, and I could hear them talking in the other room, and she just comes in, and she’s a zombie,” Ruffalo said. “And she says, ‘You have a mass behind your left ear the size of a golf ball, and we don’t know what it is. We can’t tell until it’s biopsied.’”

Mark Ruffalo Brain Tumor

Ruffalo explained that he waited to tell his pregnant wife because she was about to give birth. “She had the birth plan, she did the yoga, she had the doula, we had a hot tub ordered,” he said. “This is like her wedding, you know, man? This is like her christening, her quinceañera, and I was just like, ‘I can’t.’”

It was a relief to hear that the tumor was benign. The “Avengers” actor informed his wife a week after their kid was born, just before he was about to visit a neurologist to begin formulating a treatment plan.

“When I told Sunny about it, first she thought I was joking,” Ruffalo said. “And then she just burst into tears and said, ‘I always knew you were gonna die young.’”

According to what Ruffalo claimed on the podcast, there was a 70% probability that he would lose hearing in his left ear and a 20% risk that the surgery to remove the lump would “kill” the nerve on the left side of his face.

According to Ruffalo, he is still fully deaf in one ear today because he woke up that way. Within a year following surgery, his left-sided facial paralysis completely healed. “Take my hearing, but let me keep the face and just let me be the father to these kids,” Ruffalo recalls thinking at the moment. He and Coigney later welcomed daughters Bella, now 18 and Odette, 16.

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