Actress Marlyne Barrett plays nurse Maggie Lockwood who has breast cancer on Chicago Med and now her character’s story has become her reality. Barrett revealed that she has been diagnosed with cancer.
She told People that doctors found a tumor the size of a football on her uterus and ovary back in July. Even thought she is a private person, she “felt a responsibility to tell [her] story.”
After having a hernia repair surgery, she noticed that her body was changing.
“I had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake,” she said. “I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting.”
When doctors told her she had uterine and ovarian cancer she didn’t believe them. She doesn’t have a history of cancer in her family either.
“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” she said. “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.”
The Brooklyn native knew she would lose her hair so she took a razor and shaved her tresses off herself, which wasn’t easy.
“I didn’t want to give the power to chemo,” she continued, “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.”
Since her diagnosis she hasn’t stopped working. Her Chicago Med family has been incredibly supportive. Some of them have even shaved their heads to support her. She starts her day an hour before everyone else and takes naps as needed. Due to the size of the mass, her “mid-range is a different size, so the costume department does an incredible job.”
Barrett is gearing up for her third round of chemotherapy at the City of Hope in Los Angeles. Her children, 11-month-old twins, have been a source of motivation.
“I have a wave of emotion that comes,” she added. “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.”
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