Mark Ruffalo recalled a harrowing time in his life after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in his 30s. The Poor Things actor opened up about his health battle, which began after starring in 2000’s You Can Count on Me, during an episode of the “SmartLess” podcast on Monday, January 22.

Mark, 56, explained that he had an “intense” dream that he had a brain tumor, which ultimately led him to visit a doctor. At the time, the only symptom he had was an ear infection.

“I had one of those 4 a.m. calls, and I woke up probably around 3 a.m., and I just had this crazy dream,” he shared. “And 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.’”

Mark continued on about his doctor’s visit, adding, “I said, ‘Listen, this is going to sound crazy, but I had this dream last night that I had a brain tumor.’”

After undergoing a CAT scan, Mark was informed that he had a mass behind his left ear. The Oscar nominee waited a week until after his wife, Sunrise Coigney, gave birth to their son, Keen, to tell her about his tumor.

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

Mark Ruffalo in a gingham suit and glasses
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

The tumor was benign, and he eventually had it surgically removed, but Mark ended up “completely deaf” in one ear. After the surgery, the Spotlight actor also experienced paralysis on the left side of his face.

“I couldn’t even close my eye,” he said. “They said to me I had like I had a 20 percent chance of nicking my nerve on the left side of my face and killing it and then I had a 70 percent chance of losing my hearing, which went.”

Even through everything, Mark was focused on being there for his family. In addition to Keen, Mark and Sunrise, 51, are now parents to daughters Bella, 18, and Odette, 16.

“Take my hearing, but let me keep the face, and just let me be the father of these kids,” he reflected.