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Cole’s Psychedelic Trip Revealed a Brain Tumor. How ‘Magic’ Mushrooms Persuaded a Life-Saving MRI

Have you ever wondered if there is an extraordinary tool that is capable of catalyzing personal growth and physical or emotional restoration?

For Cole, that is exactly what brought him to psychedelics—the desire to uncover and mend his past which plagued him with PTSD, anxiety, and depression in adulthood. 

His story, in a way, defies convention and challenges preconceived notions of what is possible within a psychedelic experience. Could hallucinogens be catalysts for personal health advocacy? 

As an increasing number of people awaken to the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for addressing mental health conditions, more and more stories emerge which showcase their profound capacity to heal in multifaceted ways.

This story not only follows Cole’s miraculous decision to take health-affirming action as a result of his psychedelic experience, but is also a testament to the usefulness of psychedelics as allies during times of difficulty or uncertainty. 

Cole’s journey exemplifies the indomitable human spirit and speaks to the core of human resilience. Come along with us as we tell our client’s astonishing and inspiring story of hope and recovery. 

A Story of Resilience, Healing, & Overcoming The Odds

Cole is no stranger to health problems. He has a rare inflammatory autoimmune disease, Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (GPA), which affects his blood vessels and bodily organs. 

His autoimmune condition even once landed him in the hospital with a lung hemorrhage, leading to a pivotal and traumatic moment in which he was medically induced into a coma.

“Separately, I sought out the psychedelic experience because I had had some issues with trauma in childhood, and then…

I have an autoimmune condition which put me into a coma for two weeks, so i had a lot of things to unwind as far as false memories and PTSD associated with that, so that was what prompted…the seeking of the psychedelic [experience].”

According to Cole, his desire to heal his childhood trauma and make sense of some of his life experiences is what sparked a desire to try psychedelics for the first time after being on medication and utilizing talk therapy for years. 

When it comes to his brain tumor, however, he actually had been feeling symptoms for years, but no doctors had been able to explain what he was going through

“Symptomatically, I had been experiencing symptoms of the tumor—it’s called a vestibular schwannoma. 

It essentially sits on the auditory canal between the brainstem and the brain—so I’d been experiencing symptoms, because it sits on the vestibular nerve which is your balance and coordination, so I’d get little flashes of vertigo, like a millisecond.

It felt like a very brief head rush, and some buzzing like a cicada.”

This rare tumor can also affect the vagus nerve, and, in lieu of the popularization of the polyvagal theory, could have also contributed to his recurring feelings of anxiety and dysregulation. 

“It was a 3 centimeter, like a robin’s egg…It was a pretty significant tumor, and clinging to the nerves, which is what was causing the buzzing, the ringing, and the vertigo…

The tumor was sitting on the vagus nerve, so anxiety, depression, and things of that nature—which was a big reason, again, I went for the psychedelic therapy was to, kind of, corner some of the anxiety and things that happened post-hospitalization and post-childhood.”

Seeking solace and healing, Cole turned to psychedelics, an unconventional yet increasingly recognized approach for addressing trauma and deep-rooted emotional issues. 

Little did he know that what he thought would be a therapeutic experience would lead to a startling revelation.

As Cole settled into the psychedelic therapy session, the buzzing in his head became increasingly pronounced, almost drowning out the external world and his internal experience. 

The intensity of the buzzing demanded his attention, simultaneously pulling him deeper into self-awareness yet almost acting as an overwhelming distraction from the trip itself. 

“It was so significant…I had been experiencing it for years, so it was one of those things that…I had just kind of gotten used to. It was almost like white noise at that point. 

It was just like ‘ok here we go again,’ but it was so loud…I had actually done some journaling post-ceremony and had written that down as something to look into…It almost sounded like a cicada inside of my skull.”

This intense buzzing acted as a “warning” and “the impetus to go and get the MRI,” which, once performed, left no room for doubt regarding the origins of his symptoms.

The Unexpected Benefits of Psychedelic Medicine

At the encouragement of his psychedelic facilitator and his own resolve, Cole was able to get proper treatment, locate the tumor, and have it promptly removed. 

Before Treatment

After Treatment

Cole's brain before treatment
Cole's brain after treatment

He even pointed out how this surgery went differently than that traumatic hospital stay all that time ago. He was able to approach the situation with clarity and acceptance, which we will cover in the next section. 

In addition to this realization regarding the brain tumor, Cole expressed profound emotional and psychological changes that also took place post-trip. 

“I’m a little more emotionally mature…like when a conflict arises that is interpersonal and intrapersonal, it’s less reactionary and more solution oriented…

I kind of feel like this was a cheat code. I got a big boost from the experience, and I’ve been trying to carry this through talk therapy and recovery and things of that nature.

He even shared that he feels “generally calmer and more in control,” which could be both a positive outcome from the psychedelics themselves or now being tumor-free, and was even able to stay off antidepressants after surgery.

Before we jump into some of the benefits he experienced, we wanted to point out that there is existing research on psychedelics for treating brain injury which we covered in a previous article. 

We also discussed how psychedelics affect the brain, and these are relevant given that these findings could, in part, explain Cole’s unique experience and also potentially suggest a therapeutic use for those with abnormal growths in the brain or even in brain surgery.

When it comes to Cole’s ability to grasp and cope with the situation, his mind-altering experience seemed to help facilitate a greater capacity for emotional processing.

“One of the things that I think the ceremony allowed was for me to experience the trauma of the tumor, acceptance, the relief, and then recovery in real time. Normally I’d throw it in a bucket and not touch it until it got explosive,” he told us.

Unforeseen Benefits From His Psychedelic Trip: 

    • A greater somatic awareness of the body’s signals
    • Insight into what the body needed  
    • Comfort and resolve during surgery and treatment 
    • Better emotional awareness and capacity for self-regulation 
    • Improved romantic relationships and relationship dynamics 
    • A general feeling of calmness, groundedness, and stability

I just feel better. I just feel like a human. Instead of the ball of stress I was prior…The actions afterward about how it transformed my essence as a person. I definitely feel alot better in a much better way.

Interestingly, this was Cole’s first psychedelic experience, but he mentioned in our interview that he is “already looking forward to round 2.”

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Acceptance and Gratitude: The Keys to Graceful Recovery & Finding Peace

With the brain tumor finally unmasked, Cole embarked on a path of recovery and personal transformation. This section delves into the remarkable resilience he demonstrated throughout his journey.

In speaking with him, we noticed that acceptance became the cornerstone of Cole’s healing process. Instead of succumbing to fear or despair, he chose to confront his circumstances head-on, recognizing and embracing his condition.

“I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are still days where I’m extremely frustrated…All things considered, if I’m gonna get two rare diseases, I got two pretty good rare diseases. 

They’re manageable. One of them is gone. There’s always perspective that you have. And at the end of the day I’m still vertical. Right? Like if you’re vertical it’s not a bad day.”

Regarding his experience, he told us, “I don’t know without the experience in the ceremony that I would’ve gotten through it gracefully at all, if not, you know, complete breakdown to be honest.

We were so inspired by Cole’s willingness and bravery to surrender to the experience and were happy to hear him say, “I’m as at peace as I can be three months out from having my skull opened…I’m feeling pretty good.”

Connect With Our Pre-Vetted Network of Psychedelic Guides

We are grateful that Cole shared his empowering story with us and hope that it emboldens you to advocate for your own health and wellbeing with courage and vigor.

Our desire is to offer support to those seeking to have an intentional psychedelic experience, for whatever reason. If you are curious about the healing potential of psychedelic medicines, we encourage you to book a consultation with us today.

Our concierges will connect you with a network of psychedelic guides located all over the United States, who offer not only in-ceremony support and guidance, but also preparation and integration services as well. 

Our network of pre-vetted psychedelic guides helps ensure you have a safe, meaningful, and positive psychedelic experience with the guidance of a professional facilitator. 
We also love to offer resources and information on a wide variety of psychedelic-related topics, so head on over to our resources page for more articles.

Looking for a professionally supported in-person psychedelic experience?

Take the first step and book a consultation call with us today. We'll walk you through every step of the process after getting to know you and your unique situation.

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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