Marylne Barrett, who plays nurse Maggie Lockwood on “Chicago Med”, is sharing some candid news about her health.
In a new interview with People, Barrett reveals she’s undergoing treatment for uterine and ovarian cancer after doctors discovered a football-sized tumour on her uterus and one of her ovaries back in July.
“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” says Barrett, who last year welcomed 11-month-old twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya with husband Gavin Barrett.
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Barrett also explained how her “Chicago Med” character’s 2019 storyline, in which she was diagnosed with breast cancer, helped her come to terms with her own diagnosis.
“When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media,” she shared. “They brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me.”
Going public, she explained, is a way she can hopefully inspire others who are going through similar crises.
“We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer,” she says. “But we have so much more strength inside of us than we think,” she said.
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According to Barrett, her doctors advised undergoing “aggressive” chemotherapy before a hysterectomy. “The best way I could experience was to meet it,” she says. “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 said.
Knowing that the chemo would lead to hair loss, she decided to become proactive.
“I didn’t want to give the power to chemo,” she explained. “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.”
She credits the support of her husband. “I’m married to the most incredible man,” she 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.”
She’s also experienced support from the cast and crew of “Chicago Med”. “I’ve had people shave their heads on set to support me,” she said, revealing that she’s continuing to work on the show. “I start an hour earlier to get my bearings before I start my day,” she said, crediting the show’s costume department for doing “an incredible job.”
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“Interestingly enough, my character on the show already wears a wig!” she said, noting that “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?’”
With a third round of chemotherapy on the horizon, Barrett is taking things “one day at a time,” adding, “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.”