Fans and loved ones of “Chicago Med” star Marlyne Barrett were saddened to learn the actress is battling uterine and ovarian cancer. Barrett herself said it was a “shock” when she first found out.
“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” Barrett told People. “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.”
Barrett’s diagnosis is an eerie example of life imitating art as her character on Chicago Med, nurse Maggie Lockwood, also battled cancer on the show. She learned of her real-life diagnosis in July after doctors found a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary.
Also known for her role on “The Wire,” Barrett said she felt it was important to share her story.
“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” Barrett said. “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, 44, is a wife and mother. She is married to Pastor Gavin Barrett, with whom she shares 11-month-old twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya.
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The Brooklyn native said her husband is amazingly supportive. “I’m married to the most incredible man,” Barrett said. “I get pins and needles in my limbs from the chemo and he’ll drop everything to give me food and hand massages. He’s dropped everything just to give me love.”
Her treatment plan includes chemotherapy and a planned hysterectomy. A devout Christian, Barrett said she is facing the battle head-on.
She shaved her head proactively because she didn’t want to lose her hair while being treated. She said she did so in front of her kids to show them she “was still Mommy.”
“The best way I could experience was to meet it,” Barrett explained. “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.’”
She admitted the process brings with it “a wave of emotion” but is remaining hopeful, optimistic and holding on to her faith.
“But it’s okay not to have it all together. You can’t tangibly hold onto fear. But I’m holding onto faith,” Barrett said. “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.”
PHOTO: Marlyne Barrett seen at Red Carpet Event for NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Med” at STK on Monday, November 9, 2015, in Chicago. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)