EXCLUSIVE: 'Voice' Star Meghan Linsey Says Venomous Spider Bite Could Have Ended Her Singing Career, Still Has
By Antoinette Bueno
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Meghan Linsey will never forget the morning she was bit by a brown recluse, one of the deadliest spiders in North America.
ET sat down with the former Voice star on Monday, when she opened up about her terrifying experience on Feb. 12. Linsey alarmed her fans when she shared graphic photos of the spider bite on her face on social media.
"I woke up and I felt, like, stinging on my face, and I looked over, and I was holding a spider in my hand," Linsey recalls to ET's Cameron Mathison exclusively. "I think it probably bit me and I felt the sting, and I just instinctively grabbed it before I woke up. So, I woke up with a spider in my hand. I was like, 'OK, this isn't good.' I felt the stinging immediately. I knew it was bad."
Linsey, 31, rushed to urgent care and saw her dermatologist immediately. She then began to experience serious symptoms, and admits she worried about death.
"When I started having muscle spasms and my throat felt like it was going to close -- I actually had a red spot that developed [on my throat] seven days after I was bit," she recalls. "For nine days, it was a different symptom every day and it got increasingly worse. It gets really bad and then it gets better, so I was like, I feel like six or seven days later I should be getting better, and instead, I was waking up and my throat's almost closed, and I have a red spot on my throat. That part was scary. The muscle spasms were scary to me because it was up in my shoulder blades. I'm like, 'Am I having a heart attack?' The way my body was reacting to the venom, that was the scariest part."
"The nerve pain actually was the worst part for me, because it was so ... I thought I knew what pain was, and then this happened," she continues. "I mean, I was in a ball, crying. It was terrible pain. I think just having all the nerves in your face inflamed from the venom was probably the worst part."
Thankfully, she says the incident hasn't affected her voice, though her doctor did have that concern.
"The venom didn't affect my singing at all, which is awesome, which actually, my wound care doctor was a bit worried about that," she reveals. "She asked me every day, like, 'How is your voice? Can you sing? Are you OK?' because I had things going on with my throat. So, luckily, it has been OK."
"I'm making a record, almost done actually, planning on releasing this summer," she adds. "It's been great, almost done with the record, touring and doing my thing."
Linsey's face has also noticeably healed, and she describes how the bite initially created a "hole" in her face.
"When the venom sits underneath the skin, [it] just causes necrosis, so it kills all the skin cells," she explains. "So, it started seeping in and then it just got black. It was like a hole when the black started to come out."
Linsey credits her healing to a home care specialist in North Carolina, who walked her through the process as they talked on the phone daily. She also underwent hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which enhances the body's natural healing process by inhalation of 100 percent oxygen in a total body chamber. Still, she is unsure about the permanent effects of the bite.
"I have some things that have popped up," she admits. "I seem to be more allergic to things now, which is interesting, which I'd heard that could be an effect of this. I've had some random breakouts, rashes, and I'm like, 'What's that from?'"
As for the scar on her face, she is also unsure of its permanent state.
"It's hard to tell, I am only two months out -- they say you really should wait six months to a year just to see how it heals, and then you can decide if you want to do something else to help it," she says.
Linsey credits her 30-pound weight loss prior to the bite -- which she achieved through Nutrisystem -- as well as her faith and her positive attitude when it comes to healing so well.
"I am pretty OK, you know," she notes. "Obviously, it's not the most ideal thing to happen, to have this happen to your face, but I am kind of at the point where I have just accepted it, and I do believe everything happens for a reason," she says. "I do think my faith played a big part in the healing process because I really woke up every day and just believed, like, it was going to be OK. I knew it was going to be OK."
"It's been really cool because ... when you're vulnerable, you have the ability to grow," she also reflects. "For me, I feel like I've grown as a human, as an artist, and it's allowed me to really connect with people and my fans. I've had so many people reach out to me. I feel like I'm really relating to people on a different level now, which is a really cool thing."