The model who lost her leg after suffering from toxic shock syndrome (TSS) caused by a tampon, has disclosed she’s now had to amputate her other leg.
29-year-old Lauren Wasser, was forced to have her leg amputated in 2012 and has since turned her unexpected struggle into a learning experience, becoming an inspirational role model, actress and activist.
Against the advice of doctors and with her faith in God, Lauren saved her left leg in 2012, but has had to have it removed, due to lasting complications.
Here’s her inspiring TEDx talk…
TSS, is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins, report the NHS.
It isn’t a female-only condition and although it’s often associated with tampon use in young women, it can affect anyone of any age – including men and children.
TSS gets worse very quickly and can be fatal if not treated promptly, but if it’s diagnosed and treated early on, most people will make a full recovery.
The American model began feeling very sick one day, she’d changed her tampon three times and thought perhaps she’d caught the flu?
She dragged herself to her best friend’s birthday but was forced to head home because of her illness and once home, took off all her clothes because she felt very hot and then went to sleep.
The next thing she remembered was being woken up by the police, sent by her mother for a welfare check. She didn’t know how long she’d been sleeping for and her dog was barking aggressively to wake her up.
She went back to sleep but the next day she was rushed to hospital with a fever of 41 degrees, ten minutes from death – her internal organs were shutting down and she suffered a major heart attack.
It was only thanks to an infectious disease doctor they quickly realised her tampon was the culprit and Lauren was placed in a medically-induced coma and put on life support.
Lauren explained her story in a TEDx, saying:
I heard a nurse on the phone say ‘I’ve got a 24-year-old girl here who is going to need a right leg, below the knee, amputation’. I screamed. I can’t even tell you the feeling of knowing she was talking about me.
How could this happen? How could I lose my mobility? How could I lose my legs?
Gangrene had set in, it’s very dangerous and can spread to your heart fast. I needed to amputate.
My left foot was severely damaged as well, my toe, my heels. Doctors gave me a 50/50 chance that I’d be able to walk and be functional again.
They told me to amputate my left leg, but I said no because I believed in God, I had faith somehow he would make this okay.
There were so many days I wanted to end my life, I was trying to figure out how to get out of the misery I felt.
Lauren is an activist who’s been lobbying the US government to pass the Robin Danielson Act, named after a woman who died from TSS in 1998.
It aims to make women aware of what is going into feminine hygiene products.
The bill has been rejected by congress nine times.
Since surviving the harrowing ordeal, Lauren has struggled with excruciating pain caused by her left leg which she described to InStyle as having ‘an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes’.
Almost six years after her first amputation, Lauren said ‘I’m inevitably going to have my other leg amputated, there’s nothing I can do about it’.
As a lucky survivor of TSS, Lauren dedicates her life to trying to save others and make women aware of the dangers tampons can pose.