‘Chicago Med’ Star Marlyne Barrett Reveals She Has Uterine and Ovarian Cancer: ‘I’m Holding Onto Faith’

fans of Chicago MedThe Marlene Barrett actress will recall emotional scenes filmed in 2019 when her character, charge nurse Maggie Lockwood, was battling breast cancer. Yet what the star has not revealed until now is that she has been quietly battling cancer herself, since doctors discovered a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary in July.

“I’m a very private person, but I feel a responsibility to tell my story,” says Barrett, 44, who has 11-month-old twins Joshua-Jireh and Ahne-Nuria with her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett. “When my character passed away from breast cancer, I had a sea of ​​people through social media. They gave me courage, and so I felt compelled to meet their hearts where they met mine.”

Barrett, who is also known for his role wire, says she also hopes to inspire others to share their painful or uncomfortable truths. “As human beings we are very afraid to face the death of life, or to utter the word cancer,” she says. “But we have more power than we think.”

Marlene Barrett

Marlene Barrett

George Burns Jr./NBC

Barrett’s difficult cancer journey began two months ago when, after a hernia repair in April, she began to feel down. “I had this fluid build up [in my abdomen] She says I couldn’t move. And I was short of breath, but no pain, which was interesting.”

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On July 18, doctors informed Barrett that she had masses on her ovaries and uterus; The actress was shocked by this news. “The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” says Barrett, who has no family history of uterine or ovarian cancer. “I didn’t believe them, but when they showed me the CT scan, I went, ‘Oh my word.’ The first questions were, ‘Will I live?’ I just fell into my husband’s arms. It takes my breath away every time I think about it.”

Despite her fears, Barrett jumped into survival mode as doctors told her she would need “aggressive” chemotherapy before the final hysterectomy. “The best way I could do it,” she says. “There’s no running away from it because it’s my life. And eventually you surrender because it’s so much bigger than anything you’ve ever faced. I got this courage and I just buckled down and said, ‘I’m going to face it. ‘ “

When it came to the inevitability that she would lose her hair, “I didn’t want to give power to chemo,” says Barrett. “My hair has always been an element of beauty. But I took my razor and I shaved my head. I did it in front of my kids so they could see it was still mommy. I cried, I cried, I cried. But it was a beautiful experience to do it in front of them.”

Throughout the journey, Barrett also found immense comfort in Gavin, whom she married in 2009. “I’m married to the most wonderful man,” she says. “I get pins and needles in my limbs from chemo and he’ll give up everything to give me food and hand massages. He’s given up everything to give me love.”

Chicago Med -- "How do you begin to calculate losses?"  Episode 801 - Pictured: (lr) Marlene Barrett as Maggie Lockwood, Nick Gehlfus as Will Halstead

Chicago Med – “How You Start Counting the Damages” Episode 801 – Pictured: (lr) Marlene Barrett as Maggie Lockwood, Nick Gehlfs as Will Halstead

George Burns Jr./NBC

Throughout his physical discomfort, Barrett has worked relentlessly, leaning on him Chicago Med Cast and crew for additional assistance when needed. “I’ve shaved my head on set to get people to support me,” she says, fighting back tears.

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To keep working, “I start an hour earlier to get my bearings before starting my day,” says the actress, who also takes occasional naps and occasional breaks to maintain her energy.

Plus, “because of the mass, my mid-range is a different shape, so the clothing department does a fantastic job,” says Barrett. “Interestingly, my character in the show already wears a wig!” And finally, “work brings me so much joy right now,” she says. “It gives me so much relief to think about something other than, ‘When is my next chemo shift?’ and ‘How will I hug my children?’

Now, as she prepares for her third round of chemotherapy at City of Hope in Los Angeles, Barrett says she’s taking it “one day at a time.”

“I have a wave of emotions that come through,” she admits. “But it’s okay not to have it all together. You can’t hold on to fear clearly. But I’m holding on to faith.”

Barrett continues: “I find new strength to continue every day because [my children]. I want to see them get married one day. And I will.”

Chicago Med Airs Wednesdays at 8pm ET on NBC.

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