Art Through Cancer
- About three years after “Chicago Med” character Nurse Maggie Lockwood was battling breast cancer in the show, 44-year-old actress Marlyne Barrett announced she was battling cancer in real life too.
- Barrett, who has continued working while fighting both ovarian and uterine cancers shared some words about acceptance her character said on the show.
- “Music and Art: Reflecting On Your Journey,” an episode from our original series SN & You, shares cancer survivors’ stories about the importance of music and art during their cancer journeys.
- Many people find solace in turning to art during the cancer journey; it can be a helpful distraction as well as an emotional outlet.
“Chicago Med” follows emergency department staffers of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center, with Barrett playing nurse Maggie Lockwood. Three years after Maggie battled breast cancer in the show, Barrett was diagnosed with ovarian and uterine cancer.Read More
She captioned the post, “When Life & Art Intersect! #Speechless #Humility #fihtagainstcancer Repost @nbconechicago w/ @actuallystevenweber.”View this post on Instagram
More On Ovarian Cancer
- ‘An Important Step Forward’: New Drug Combo Shows Promise For The Treatment of Some Ovarian Cancer
- ‘A Zebra Without Its Stripes’: Model and Ovarian Cancer Survivor Ash Foo Says She Doesn’t Recognize Pictures of Herself Before Treatment – Achieving Body Positivity after Cancer
- ‘Be Grateful For The Good Things’ — Ovarian Cancer Survivor Donna Cleland’s Story
- ‘Faith, Family, and Friends’ Helped Beverly Reeves Get Through Ovarian Cancer Treatment
— Marlyne Barrett (@barrettmarlyne) September 28, 2022
Barrett — who shares toddler twins Joshuah-Jireh and Ahnne-N’Urya with her husband, pastor Gavin Barrett — sreceived support from fans after sharing the footage.
“Warrior Queen you are not even close to done with your earthly purposes! We stand with you in the trenches … even those of us who will never know you and can only pray for you,” one fan commented.
Another wrote, “What we go through, we grow through. And then we know better, be able to help those who are going through the same battle as you or similar, become a Voice and a source of encouragement to others. My FAVORITE scene in this episode. It is Satisfying. I’m always praying for you.”
Marlyne Barrett’s Cancer Diagnosis
Marlyne Barrett announced her ovarian and uterine cancer diagnosis back in September 2022, just two months after doctors found a mass that was near the size of a football on her left ovary and uterus.
“I’m an extremely private person, but I felt a responsibility to tell my story,” Barrett said at the time, in an interview with People. “When my character went through breast cancer, I had a sea of people reach out to me through social media. They brought me courage, and so I felt a sense of inevitability to meet their hearts where they met me.”
The mom of two, who is also known for acting in “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D., added, “We as human beings are so scared to face the mortality of life, or to even pronounce the word cancer. But we have so much more strength inside of us than we think.”
Barrett first began feeling “off” a couple of months before revealing her diagnosis as she was recovering from a hernia.
“I had this accumulation of fluid [in my abdomen] that I couldn’t shake,” she explained. “I looked like I was nine months pregnant. And I also had shortness of breath, but no pain, which was interesting.”
Barrett, who had no family history of either cancer, recounted initially feeling as if the diagnosis was a “shock to my womanhood,” explaining, “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.”
Immediately after, Barrett started very aggressive chemotherapy treatment.
“There’s no running from it because it’s my life,” she said. “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.'”
Work, which Barrett admits “brings her a lot of joy” has since been keeping her distracted. She even takes naps for extra energy during scene breaks.
“The costume department does an incredible job. Interestingly enough, my character on the show already wears a wig,” she said. “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?'”
At the time of her cancer reveal, she was preparing for round three of her chemo treatments in Los Angeles’ City of Hope.
The Impact of Art & Music on One’s Cancer Journey
Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to make it through the day. That’s the case for many women fighting breast cancer, and an episode from SurvivorNetTV’s original series SN & You about the power of music and art may be just the boost you need.
An Inspiring Film About the of Impact Art & Music on Cancer
In the episode Music and Art: Reflecting On Your Journey, SurvivorNet follows Marianne Cuoozo, Bianca Muniz, Joel Naftelberg, Marquina Iliev-Piselli, and Matthew Zachary as they reflect on the impact music and art had on their cancer journey.
RELATED: Pierce Brosnan Reveals How Art Helped Him Cope During First Wife’s Ovarian Cancer: “Now the pain sometimes comes through in color”
While undergoing breast cancer treatment, it can be challenging to keep a positive attitude when you’re feeling tired from treatment. These survivors have been in your shoes and have tips to help get you through.
Survivor Marianne DuQuette Cuozzo Used Art As An Outlet After Facing Cancer Multiple Times
Finding Refuge In Art
Alongside treatment – or after beating cancer – some people may look to various artistic outlets (i.e. singing, dancing, painting, crafting) to help them cope with their cancer journey.
Some people also use art to handle feelings of grief after suffering a cancer-related loss. Whenever and however you turn to art, its healing benefits – in terms of mental health – are well-documented and substantiated.
In fact, Very Well Mind reports that a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association says that less than an hour of creative activity can reduce stress and have a positive effect on your mental health. And that’s true regardless of artistic experience or talent, the author notes.
Dealing With Grief After a Cancer Diagnosis
Learning About Ovarian Cancer
With ovarian cancer, one of the cancers Marlyne Barrett is battling, chemotherapy is usually the first stage of treatment, but as far as staging your actual cancer, it’s a little more difficult to tell until your doctor performs a surgery. At the time of her cancer announcement, it was likely that Marlyne didn’t know the stage, as she was only on her third chemotherapy treatment.
Since the mass was located in her ovary and uterus, it is also likely that her doctors didn’t know where it officially started until they did the surgery as well.
For ovarian cancer, gynecologic oncologists suggest a staging procedure after a diagnosis when they have evidence that the cancer may be early or limited, which has to do with the location of the tumor. Depending on where the cancer is found, it will be assigned a stage.
Survivornet previously spoke with Dr. Amanda Fader, who further described the notion of staging your ovarian cancer through surgery, which determines what, if any, cancer has spread.
“If it’s remained in the ovary where it was initially found or developed, then the cancer is Stage 1,” Dr. Amanda Fader, vice chair of gynecologic surgical operations at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told SurvivorNet.
What are the Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?
“But if the cancer has started to spread to other organs or through the lymph nodes to other parts of the body, then it would be identified as Stage 2, 3, or 4,” Dr. Fader added.
When doctors have evidence before the surgery, such as from imaging tests, that the tumor may be limited to the ovary, they will usually recommend a staging procedure. During that operation, doctors remove all or part of the ovary with the tumor and send it—while the patient is still asleep on the operating table—to a pathologist who will examine the tissue and identify the type of tumor so doctors can decide how best to treat it.
If the tumor is determined to be benign, the surgery can end. Otherwise, more extensive surgery is usually performed. Prior to the surgery the patient and her doctor would have discussed the various possible findings, so that depending on the result of the ovarian biopsy, the surgeon knows what the patient’s wishes are and how to proceed. “We would have made these decisions ahead of time through our preoperative counseling,” explained Dr. Fader.
If the tumor is malignant—ovarian cancer— Dr. Fadrer said, “then we usually do a hysterectomy and remove the opposite ovary, too, in case it’s involved with the cancer. We also remove the omentum—an apron of fat in the abdomen. It has no known function, like the appendix, but can be involved in many ovarian cancer cases. And we’ll do several biopsies around the abdomen and pelvis, including biopsies of the lymph nodes and peritoneum (the tissue lining of the abdomen).”
These biopsies will determine whether the cancer has spread and if so, how far. Signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for with this difficult-to-diagnose disease include: bloating, feeling full, fatigue, back pain, and changes in your menstrual cycle.
Understanding Uterine Cancer
With uterine cancer, the other cancer Marlyne Barrett is fighting, people may be predisposed to the disease.
“Uterine cancer and endometrial cancer are synonymous,” Dr. Diana English, a gynecologic oncologist at Stanford Medicine, told SurvivorNet in an earlier interview. “It’s a cancer that’s coming from the lining of the uterus. That’s what endometrial cancer is.”
Understanding the Risks and Symptoms of Uterine Cancer
“I think one of the challenges with uterine cancer is that it can also happen in younger patients that have certain conditions that might predispose them to cancer,” she explained further. “These patients might not be thinking about this, their primary care providers may not be speaking to them about this.”
Dr. English outlined common risk factors of uterine cancer, including:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (which is marked by the absence of regular periods)
- Hyperandrogenism (elevated male sex hormones)
- Lynch Syndrome
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Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff
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