Chicago Med airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
‘Chicago Med’ Star Marlyne Barrett Reveals She Has Uterine and Ovarian Cancer: ‘I’m Holding Onto Faith’
‘Chicago Med’ star Marlyne Barrett is getting candid about battling uterine and ovarian cancer!
During a recent interview, Marlyne Barrett revealed the moment she found out she was diagnosed with both uterine and ovarian cancer. She says that in July, doctors discovered a football-sized on her uterus and left ovary.
“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.”
Barrett’s cancer journey began two months ago when, following a hernia repair in April, she started feeling off. She explained,
“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.”
On July 18, doctors informed Marlyne Barrett that she had a mass on her ovary and uterus, which stunned the actress. She said,
“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.”
Despite her fears, Barrett says she quickly jumped into defense mode as doctors informed her she’d need “aggressive” chemotherapy before an eventual hysterectomy. She explained,
“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.’ “
When it came to the inevitability that she’d lose her hair, ‘The Wire’ actress took charge over the matter.
“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.”
Despite her diagnosis and physical discomfort, Barrett has chosen to continue working. Thankfully, her ‘Chicago Med’ cast and crew have been extremely supportive during this time. While fighting back tears, she said,
“I’ve had people shave their heads on set to support me.”
In her decision to keep working, Marlyne has had to make certain adjustments like naps during the day and even having to take some days off in order to maintain her energy.
“I start an hour earlier to get my bearings before I start my day,”
“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!” And ultimately, “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?'”
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.” She admits,
“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.”