“Chicago Med” star Marlyne Barrett revealed she was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer.
The 44-year-old mother-of-two revealed her cancer diagnosis in an interview with PEOPLE.
Barrett’s cancer journey began after a hernia repair in April She experienced shortness of breath and a buildup of fluid in her abdomen (ascites).
Barrett, pictured in Monaco in June, said, “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.”
A CT scan showed a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary. Her doctor informed her of the findings on July 18.
“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.”
Barrett’s cancer was diagnosed 3 years after her character Maggie Lockwood battled breast cancer on the fictional TV series.
“When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media,” she said. “They brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me.”
Barrett began an aggressive course of chemotherapy before undergoing a hysterectomy. She lost most of her hair to the chemo, and she shaved off the rest.
“I didn’t want to give the power to chemo,” says Barrett. “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.”
Barrett shares 11-month-old twins, Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya with her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett.
“I’m married to the most incredible man,” she says. “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.”
Watch the video below.