Johnny Ruffo has revealed he was just hours from death when he fell into a coma and was diagnosed with brain cancer, as he opened up on the complex surgery that saved his life in a new tell-all chat.
The Home and Away actor, 30, has given a new in-depth glimpse at the surgery he underwent to remove a large part of his brain tumour, and admitted he could have been left paralysed down one side of his body and unable to ever walk again.
Speaking with Who magazine’s podcast on Thursday, the actor recalled the terrifying night on August 6, 2017, that his loving girlfriend Tahnee Sims saved his life by rushing him to hospital after he complained of a painful migraine.
While doctors initially told Tahnee to go home, believing Johnny simply had a bad migraine, she woke the next morning to devastating news as they revealed he had slipped into a coma due to a fist-sized tumour in his brain that may have been growing for up to 10 years.
“The doctor said ‘If you didn’t come in (to the hospital), you would have gone to sleep and you would have been dead’,” he told the podcast.
Explaining what he was told at the time, he added: “Basically [the tumour was] the size of my first in my frontal lobe, so all that pressure was being put on my brain which explains the sever headaches and blackouts.”
When he first woke up, he was so drugged up he was unaware exactly what had happened, however when it began to sink it, his first thought was: “Holy s**t, this is serious!”
He was left with a giant scar across his head from the emergency surgery and 27 staples. However, the doctors couldn’t remove the whole tumour as some of it was too close to nerves in his brain. He admitted they warned him at the time that if anything went wrong, he could be left paralysed and unable to walk.
“Part of the tumour was right on the nerves that control the left side of my body… He said if we had attempted to remove that final 3 or 4 per cent of the tumour, we could have caused paralysis down the entire left side of your body for the rest of your life, and I might not have been able to walk again. So I’m very grateful that they didn’t,” Johnny said.
He’s since been having radiotherapy and chemotherapy to kill the rest of it, and he’s now seven months into chemo with five months to go.
Johnny explained: “I’ve still got five months (of chemo) to go… I’m lucky enough to be able to do oral chemo, so it’s just tablets, so I can do that from the comfort of my own home.”
While he said the drugs have made him feel like “dogs**t”, he’s thankful to be able to take them at home where he’s comfortable and relaxed.