Chicago Med’s Marlyne Barrett Reveals Uterine & Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis In The Most Honest Way Possible

For Marlyne Barrett, her life is now mirroring her role on TV… in a way she couldn’t imagine.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Med actress, who plays Maggie Lockwood, a nurse fighting breast cancer, revealed to People she’s been battling uterine and ovarian cancer for the past two months. Obviously it’s not the kind of connection you’d wish for. Speaking about her new health issues, Marlyne candidly shared her journey about why she’s decided to open up now.

The 44-year-old said:

“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story. When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media. They brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me… We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer, but we have so much more strength inside of us than we think.”

Related: Katie Couric Facing Breast Cancer In New Admission

She is in no way obligated to make her private health issues public, but it truly says so much about her courage and her view on life’s latest challenges. Explaining how it all began after a hernia repair in April, Marlyne recalled feeling off and noticed her body changing:

“I had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake. I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting.”

Then on July 18, the momma, who celebrates having 11-month-old twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya at home, was hit by the devastating reveal: doctors had found a large mass on her overy and uterus. Saying there’s been no family history of uterine or ovarian cancers, she expressed to the outlet:

“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood. I didn’t believe them, but when they showed me the CT scan, I went, ‘Oh my word.’ The first questions were, ‘Am I going to live?’ I just fell into my husband’s arms. It still takes my breath away when I think about it.”

But she quickly became proactive as doctors described the “aggressive” chemotherapy she’d need — before a hysterectomy could be performed.

“The best way I could experience was to meet it. There’s no running from it because it’s my life. And eventually you just surrender because it’s so much bigger than anything you’ve ever faced. I found this courage and I just hunkered down and said, ‘I’m going to face this.’”

Even with such a strong demeanor to take on these daunting challenges, it didn’t mean she was immune to any of chemotherapy’s many side effects, like losing her hair. She noted:

“I didn’t want to give the power to chemo. My hair has always been an essence of beauty. But I took my own razor and I shaved my head. I did it in front of my babies so they’d see it was still Mommy. I wept, I wept, I wept. But it was a beautiful experience to do it in front of them.”

Thankfully, Marlyne’s husband, pastor Gavin Barrett, has also been along for the ride, there to offer support and much-needed massages:

“I’m married to the most incredible man. I get pins and needles in my limbs from the chemo and he’ll drop everything to give me food [sic] and hand massages. He’s dropped everything just to give me love.”

And the Chicago Med crew also has her back, with some of them even shaving their heads as a show of support. The Wire alum, who is preparing for her third round of chemo, still finds happiness on set:

“Work brings me a lot of joy right now. It brings me a lot of reprieve to think about something other than, ‘When is my next chemo shift?’ and ‘How am I going to hug my children?’”

Sounds like just the right distraction to carry through during this tough battle, regardless of needing naps or taking days off to keep from draining her energy. Describing how she’s been able to mange it all, she confessed:

“I start an hour earlier to get my bearings before I start my day.”

The upside?

“Because of the mass, my mid-range is a different size, so the costume department does an incredible job. Interestingly enough, my character on the show already wears a wig!”

Marlyne continues to take it “one day at a time,” which sounds like the most you can do, acknowledging herself that there’s more than just having courage and strength to make it through this battle, but also the other emotions, too.

“I have a wave of emotion that comes, but it’s okay not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith. I find new strength to carry on every day because of [my children]. I want to see them get married one day. And I will.”

We absolutely think so. Wishing the star the best as she bravely fights on, and thinking of her loved ones supporting her along the way.

[Image via Marlyne Barrett/Instagram]

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