Chicago Med star Marlyne Barrett revealed today (Sept. 27) that she is battling ovarian and uterine cancer. And she’s hoping her story can help others find the “strength” to beat their own uncomfortable and terrifying truths.
“We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer,” she told People. “But we have so much more strength inside of us than we think.”
As the 44-year-old shared in an exclusive interview, her journey began this past April while she was recovering from a hernia repair. Though she knew her body was healing, she began feeling off. And eventually, she started experiencing strange symptoms.
“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 discovered a football-sized tumor on her uterus and left ovary and told her that she would have to go through “aggressive” chemotherapy treatments and a hysterectomy to beat the disease.
Barret said that she has no family history of the cancers, so she was shocked to hear the diagnosis. And thinking of that day still takes her “breath away.”
“The initial experience was a shock, a shock to my womanhood,” she shared. “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.”
Marlyne Barrett Finds Solace on the Set of ‘Chicago Med’
In the months following, the Chicago Med star has been processing the news. But as she embarked on her first rounds of chemo, she realized that she had to accept her diagnosis in order to survive. And she’s since faced all of her trials head-on.
“The best way I could experience was to meet it,” she admitted. “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.'”
The actress shared that she shaved her head early on because she didn’t want cancer to take it from her. And she continues to work on Chicago Med because acting is a positive outlet.
She also said that her 11-month-old twins, Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya, and husband of 13 years, pastor Gavin Barrett, are helping her find the courage to fight the disease. Gavin has offered her endless love and compassion. And her children have given her the determination to survive.
“I find new strength to carry on every day because of [my children],” Barrett concluded. “I want to see them get married one day. And I will.”