Mark Ruffalo had a dream that he had a brain tumor and he was right

Mark Ruffalo just nabbed his fourth Oscar nomination this week, for supporting actor in Poor Things. All four of his noms have been for supporting roles, which puts him in an exclusive club of legends tied for the most number of nominations in that category. It feels fitting that he’s always honored for “supporting” work, since he seems like a real team player, a costar who genuinely cares for his fellow performers. A mensch, if you will. Clearly he takes his work seriously, but that doesn’t mean he’s a dick about it to anyone during his process. Maybe it’s me, but I just get kind, good-intention vibes from him. So when he says that he had a dream telling him he had a brain tumor, and it turned out that he did have one, I believe it that his unconscious psyche was looking out for him. Ruffalo just visited the SmartLess podcast and described the benign vestibular schwannoma he had in 2001 and its residual effects:

“I had a brain tumor after the success of You Can Count on Me,” he said, noting that he discovered the tumor after having a dream about it. “It wasn’t like any other dream I’d ever had. It was just like, ‘You have a brain tumor.’ It wasn’t even a voice. It was just pure knowledge, ‘You have a brain tumor, and you have to deal with it immediately.’”

Ruffalo admitted that the dream was “so intense” that he went to the doctor for a CAT scan after feeling a “sense of doom.” At the time, the only symptom he had was an ear infection.

“The nurse calls the doctor up, I could hear them talking in the other room. She comes in, she’s kinda like a zombie 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,’” he said.

The Avengers star said the tumor was benign but he needed surgery to remove the mass. Ruffalo said that he ultimately decided to keep the diagnosis a secret from his wife Sunrise Coigney, who was pregnant and days away from giving birth to their first child, son Keen, now 22.

Ruffalo told Coigney of his health a week after their son was born and the night before his appointment to “meet the neurologist” and figure out a treatment plan.

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

Ruffalo had the benign tumor surgically removed. The star was told that during the procedure, there was a 20% chance of “killing” the nerve on the left side of his face and a 70% chance of losing the hearing in his left ear.

‘[I am] completely deaf in one ear, and when I woke up, the left side of my face was totally paralyzed,” he recalled of the surgery’s aftermath. “I couldn’t even close my eye. I was talking out the side of my mouth.”

The paralysis eventually went away a year later, however, the actor still deals with hearing loss today.

“Take my hearing, but let me keep the face and just let me be the father to these kids,” he recalled thinking at the time. Ruffalo and Coigney later welcomed two more children, daughters Bella Noche and Odette.

[From People]

His story is wild! I wish my dreams would give me such direct, emphatic messages. Maybe I’m just not as spiritually evolved as Mark, sigh. The timing of when it happened is also insane — right after his big break in You Can Count On Me and shortly before the birth of his first child. I found his phrasing very curious about this happening “after the success of” the movie. Is he suggesting that the stress of the moment was in part responsible for the tumor, or is that just for the timeframe? And I’m not yet sure how I feel about his not telling his wife until after their son was born. I understand his reasoning, he didn’t want it to weigh on her on top of imminent childbirth. But on the other hand, it was a pretty big deal and she’s his partner! My biggest follow up question, though, is about what Sunrise said to him in response: “I always knew you were gonna die young.” WHAT is that about?! I’m fascinated and need to know more. Is he accident prone? Is she basing it off a dream she had? It’s such a tease! And so what does he say to her these days, “Ha! I’m 56 and still alive, Sunny!” I mean if he passed now it would still be young, but you get the point.

Mark, we’re glad you’re still with us, and congrats again on the nomination. You and that mustache earned it.

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