US actress Marlyne Barrett has revealed she has been battling cancer for over two months, after being diagnosed with an aggressive tumour on her uterus and left ovary in July.
The 44 year old star, who is best known for her role as Maggie Lockwood in Chicago Med, revealed the heartbreaking news on Wednesday as she told PEOPLE magazine about her diagnosis.
During the interview, the star revealed her problems initially started after a hernia repair op back in April, but even following the procedure, her symptoms only appeared to worsen.
“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,” she explained.
After brushing off initial concerns, Marlyne sought advice from her doctor, and was shocked when medics revealed she had a tumour on her uterus and left ovary around the size of a football – something she admitted herself was even more shocking given she had no family history of uterine or ovarian cancer in the family.
Stunned by the news, Marlyne collapsed into her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett’s arms as she began to ask herself a slew of questions, including “Am I going to live?”
The couple, who have been together for 12 years and tied the knot back in 2009, share 11 month old twins, Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya – but even despite the harrowing diagnosis, Gavin has remained a rock to Marlyne as he continues to support her through treatment of the deadly disease.
In order to treat the tumour, doctors advised a course of chemotherapy and a hysterectomy; a surgical procedure in which the uterus is removed.
Speaking about her decision to face her treatment head on, Marlyne said: “'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.'"
And face it she did. Rather than waiting for her hair to fall out as a result of intense chemotherapy, the mum of two took a razor to her own hair shortly after her diagnosis to reclaim some control over the scary situation.
Shaving her hair in front of her babies so that they could “see it was still Mommy”, Marlyne admitted she had shed a fair few tears during the experience, but felt it was important to have shared it with her children.
The move also received the support of many of her Chicago Med co-stars, with several even shaving their own heads in a show of solidarity for their much loved colleague and friend.
Marlyne’s cancer battle also holds a poignant parallel to a storyline she herself had been part of on the show, when her character Maggie, was affected by breast cancer in 2019 – leading many fans to reach out and share their own cancer stories with the star.
Even despite undergoing chemotherapy, the actress has remained firmly committed to her role on the medical drama, even continuing to act her scenes in Chicago med while in the grip of treatment.
Starting an hour earlier to help her accommodate the side effects of her treatment, Marlyne even confessed she enjoys the “distraction” from reality for a little while as “Work brings her a lot of joy”.
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