Mark Ruffalo Survivor Story
Mark Alan Ruffalo was born on November 22, 1967 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S
He is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Before becoming a star, he worked at a guitar store and as a gardener, a bartender and a house painter. He is well-known for a number of roles including portraying the Marvel Comic character Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Also he was seen in other Marvel movies like The Avengers and Thor. His other Iconic movies include- “The Avengers”, “Collateral”, “Shutter Island”, “Rumor Has It”, “Reservation Road”, and “Now You See Me.”, “Just Like Heaven”, “Zodiac”, Foxcatcher and Spotlight.
In May of 2001, something happened that was though very bizzare but life saving. Mark Ruffalo had a vivid dream that he had a brain tumor. It terrified him so much, he contacted his doctor who ordered an MRI test results proved he had a golf ball size mass behind his left ear, which was later found to be an acoustic neuroma.
At the time of diagnosis, Ruffalo and his wife were expecting their first child. He wanted the birth of his child to be the happy focus, and he did not want others making his tragedy their tragedy. He told his wife after their child was born.
Doctor’s told him he had an 80% chance of losing his hearing and a 20% chance of losing his facial nerve if he undergoes surgery for his brain tumor. Though he underwent surgery to remove the tumor, he battled paralysis of his facial nerves for ten months which has put his hollywood career on hold.
Ruffalo’s recovery was slow, He was quoted, “Recovery really tested what I was made of as a man. It also became a blessing in disguise, as time progressed.” Mark Ruffalo is cancer free now. He regained most of the movement in the left side of his face, came back stronger than ever in his career. He practices meditation daily, which he says changed everything for him and the way the world looks to him.
If he can do it you can too.
Information about Acoustic Neuroma
It is also known as Vestibular Schwannoma or neurilemmoma and arises from schwann cells around the vestibular nerve. Usually it grows slowly and doesn’t cause symptoms as they do not invade the brain. But rarely it may grow rapidly or to a large size to produce symptoms due to cranial nerve(s) involvement, such as hearing loss, ringing in ears and unsteadiness. Very rarely, compression on brain stem or cerebellum may become life threatening.
Most of the cases of acoustic neuroma don’t have a known cause.
In 5% of cases, genetic mutation of chromosome 22 is implicated. Normally this gene is a tumor suppressor gene that controls the growth of schwann cells. Neurofibromatosis 2 is a genetic disorder that may lead to mutation of chromosome 22 leading to excessive growth of schwann cells causing this disorder.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Gradual hearing loss
- Unsteadiness of Gait
- Facial Nerve Involvement
- Weakness due to muscle involvement
In rare cases, acoustic neuroma may lead to complications such as-
- Facial weakness
- Hearing loss
- Ringing in ear
Mark Ruffalo had facial nerve involvement due to the tumor that led to facial nerve palsy in him.
There are 3 treatment options available for vestibular schwannoma
- Surgical Removal
- Radiation Therapy
The treatment modality depends on the aggressiveness of the tumor, extent of disease, symptoms, performance status of the patient, etc