“I would get up and eat breakfast, and that’s all I could do for the day,” recalls Linsey, 25, who plays Caroline Spencer on the soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Her mother wanted her to call her doctor. After all, she’d seen Linsey through treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma Stage 3A when the actress was 18. It was Linsey’s mom who fielded the call from the doctor confirming the diagnosis while on her cell phone in the family’s front yard. Linsey watched her mom, who was pacing in front of the house, from the window.
“I thought something was wrong with one of my sisters,” remembers Linsey, who would soon find out that she was the one who had something wrong — very wrong. No longer could she explain away her symptoms, fatigue, chills, and lumps on her neck and collarbone, as job-related stress.
“I was home for the summer, working as a ranch hand, and I started to faint a lot,” says Linsey, whose doctors had been blaming the hot Tallahassee summer for her symptoms. “They kind of talked it up to exhaustion.”
But a biopsy found irregular cells, and then a CT scan revealed tumors from her neck to her spleen.
“My mom said I had lymphoma,” recalls Linsey. “She couldn’t call it ‘cancer’ for the first few months.”
Throughout the remainder of 2006, Linsey would undergo 12 rounds of chemo, including a turbo blast of the heavy duty Adriamycin and Bleomycin, which led to an infection in her lungs similar to tuberculosis. Though it wasn’t contagious, it was dangerous enough for Linsey to be quarantined.
In January of 2007, Linsey achieved remission. But the combination of the chemotherapy and her family’s history of early menopause meant that her window for getting pregnant was small.
“I don’t have the luxury of waiting until my thirties,” says Linsey, who, it turns out, won’t have to. After her mother advised her to call her oncologist that day last fall, her fiancé, “The Young and the Restless” star Robert Adamson, said, “Let’s get a pregnancy test” instead.
“He knew I was pregnant,” she says. Linsey, on the other hand, wasn’t convinced. When the first of the two lines on the over-the-counter pregnancy test showed — the line that only appear when you’re pregnant — Linsey thought that the display had been installed backwards. When the second line appeared confirming her pregnancy, she handed the test to her fiancé and said, “I don’t know!”
“Oh sweetie,” he replied, “you’re pregnant.” Unconvinced, Linsey took four more tests — all of them with positive results.
“I just thought it would be harder than that,” says Linsey, now in her third trimester. What was hard was filming her wedding scene for “The Bold and the Beautiful” in double corsets, trying to play the glowing bride while “so tired, the last thing I wanted to do was pretend.” So far, the show hasn’t written her pregnancy into the script.
Linsey credits cancer for a deepened bond with her family, especially her mother.
“When you watch somebody almost lose a battle like that,” she recalls, trailing off. She says she’s grateful for cancer and everything it’s given her, especially for her new perspective on life. She considers getting older a gift, as is having a baby with the man she loves.
“Not everybody gets this chance,” she acknowledges. “I was never sure if I’d be able to. I’m excited to be alive. I think that’s going to carry over into being a mom.”
The baby is due June 19th.