An open letter to my husband’s brain tumor

Dear Chuck,

Dare I say “dear”, you quarter sized asshole? Well, I guess I should, as I do want to be as nice as possible, so you’ll act accordingly.

My name is Allison. We actually haven’t met, but I’m sure you know my voice. I’m the high pitched, female, muffled sound you’ve heard for your whole life. You know? The one that at one minute is loving and sweet and the next minute reaches octaves only our dogs can hear? Yep. That’s me.

I thought I’d introduce myself so you and I could get to know each other better and you can begin to see things from my point of view. You see, I understand you already. You are happy and warm and just’a growing away in my husband’s cranium. I’m sure that grey thing that you’re pushing on, his brain, is nice and smooshy. I’m sure it’s pretty comfy in there.

Now, I know two weeks ago, when a mean man opened up Chris’ skull with a saw and cut about 75% of your gelatinous body away, you got pretty mad. Understood. That had to suck for you, Chuck. I mean, damn, I’ve never been cut into third’s, but I’m sure it’s no fun. I really do see that.

What I need you to understand and the reason I’m writing this letter, is I would like you to see things differently. You’ve been “in the dark” about all of the things going on on the outside of my husband’s skull and I think it’s time you have a reality check.

I fucking hate you.


You see, in the past year and a half you’ve been causing some problems and I’m going to need you to stop. I’ll start from the beginning and work our way up to now, so you’ll be able to get a true understanding of what life on the “outside” is really about. I assure you, this will be life changing and it is my hope that we can come to a genuine and adult agreement.

A few months before August of 2014, I’m assuming you took up shop inside what you now call your home. The reason I say this is because in that month, of that year, you began to show yourself.

I appreciate your subtlety in the beginning. Chris would’ve been really scared if you started off the way you do things now.

You picked a pretty crappy area to live. You see, you don’t know it, but you live at exactly the part of my husband’s brain that controls his speech and language. The part that allows him to talk, think and express himself. So, by growing right there, you started to effect his speech and cognition.

At first, it only happened every now and then. You’d grow and he’d not be able to speak for a few minutes. He’d not be able to think. Then, I think you got a little too comfortable and just grew your happy ass off.

From the outside, I didn’t know that, of course. I stayed oblivious to your devious course of action and watched the man I love suffer with fear and frustration. I watched in confusion as he would stare blankly for a few seconds. Then his eyes would show pure fear. Next he would try to speak, but NO, you wouldn’t allow that. You’d just push a little more. Finally though, he’d gain control again. Slowly, he’d fight you and he’d win. You tried your best, but damnit, he was stronger. Every time you tried to do this, even when you started to do it more, he fought. Why, Chuck? Why did you keep doing this to Chris?

We’d had enough of your antics and went for an expert opinion. This is when we finally saw you for the first time. I have to say, we were surprised. In your day you were a pretty large tumor. Albeit, gelatinous and gross. But, large nonetheless.

That expert was that man you met two weeks ago. The man with the saws and knives. He’s on our side, if you haven’t guessed and he pretty much despises you, too. Even more because he had to leave some of you in my husband’s brain.

Now, this is the part that I talked about earlier. The part where we come to an agreement?

You see, I love Chris. I know you need him for life, but I’m not sure that you realize that I do, too. He’s the part of my soul that God misplaced when I was born.

And there’s something else. Actually, “something’s” else. You know those tiny muffled voices that you hear all day? The laughing, crying, playing, loving voices? Those are Chris’ children. You probably didn’t know about them when you moved in. I understand that. That’s why I’m telling you now. There’s a girl. There’s a boy. And they need their Daddy. He’s their knight in shining armor. The foundation of their playhouse and the blanket of safety they sleep under every night. They love him. They need him. They deserve him. And you simply cannot take him away from them. Without him, they won’t have their Tickle Monster. They won’t have their Red Light Saber wielding bad guy or their handsome date for the Daddy/Daughter dance. His boy won’t know to open the car door for his first girlfriend and his girl won’t know that a gentleman does that every time. His boy won’t have a best man at his wedding and his girl won’t have him to walk her down the aisle and (much to his dismay) give her away.

See, Chuck? I’m going to need you to stop. Just stop. I’m asking nicely in hope that we can come to this mutual agreement without arguing. Arguing will only make things worse for you and Chris. Mostly you. You remember that mean man? Want to see him again? Stop growing. Do you want to be chemically poisoned to the point that you wither and shrivel? Stop growing. Want to be hit with a beam of light and burned alive? Stop growing. For the love of all things HOLY, STOP GROWING! (Sorry for yelling)

You can stay, Chuck. Just chill out. I mean, damn. Just leave him alone. Chris will give you that nice cushy home you’re accustomed to and we can all be one happy family. I’m all for it, Chuck. Chris, me, the kids and you.

So, from me to you, please hear my cry. Please, try to understand. Life on the outside is very different. Life on the outside is complicated.

What I need you to comprehend is that life on the outside isn’t life without Chris. It will cease to exist without him and with all that I am and all that I’ll ever be, I beg you. Leave him alone and let him live. Let him be the light that he is and let me keep that piece of my soul.


Allison B. Padgett


4 thoughts on “An open letter to my husband’s brain tumor

  1. So poignant!! I’m sorry you have to go through this. I was tearing up while reading. I have a tumor on my pituitary gland that I could probably write a similar letter to. :-/ Health problems are so unfair! I’m glad you and your husband are able to fight together.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a unique perspective, using personification in your heartfelt message to Chuck the Tumor.

    As a matter of fact, Chuck is exactly the perfect name for him, as the word itself means to discard and eliminate things that serve no valuable purpose.

    I wish you and your family the very best, and hoping that Chuck will heed your plea and answer your prayers.


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