Lauren Wasser is a strong 29-year-old woman from Los Angeles who knows that life can sometimes put you through very hard times. When those times occur, you need to focus on yourself and be strong in order to be able to deal with the pain.
Wasser was a successful model when back in 2012 she lost her right leg because of the toxic shock syndrome she suffered—it was caused by a tampon. The condition is very dangerous and nearly cost her life. Recently the young woman had her left foot amputated as well. Not long before the second operation, the model announced that the surgery was inevitable because she was constantly in pain.
Wasser was obviously not broken by the upcoming second operation—quite the opposite, actually—her spirits were up and she wrote on Instagram that this was the next chapter of her life and she was looking forward to it. She will continue her mission to be an advocate of the dangers related to using tampons as soon as she gets used to the new prosthetic.
After the surgery Wasser was visited by the athlete Amy Purdy, who is a Paralympian and a double amputee as well.
The body of the brave woman continued to produce calcium, causing the bones of the remaining foot to grow, because the brain was trying to control the growing of the missing toes, which were amputated during the first operation in 2012. She said that she had no toes or heel and she was experiencing constant pain because the leg unfortunately had an open ulcer. The surgery was needed in order to cut the bone, as she could barely walk.
Another inconvenience was that she could not wet her leg because of the open ulcer, and that proved to be very difficult for the young Californian model. She knew that she could not do anything about it and an amputation was the only real solution.
Wasser is working hard to bring changes to legislation regarding the issue, and she is trying to urge the National Institutes of Health to provide assistance in the testing of all feminine hygiene products to verify if they are safe to use or not.
She is advocating for the Robin Danielson Act, a bill named after another TSS victim who died in 1998. The bill directs the National Institutes of Health to conduct the research on potential risk of using feminine products.
The Robin Danielson Act has been presented ten times before the House of Representatives, but it has never come to a vote.
Wasser has spoken publicly about the condition and she even has a TED Talk in which she shares her story.
When she started feeling ill for the first time, she was only 24-years-old. Her mother became worried that she had not heard from her daughter in a while and she called the police to check up on her. The found her in her bedroom floor, which was covered in vomit and feces; she was unconscious and lying face down. Later, doctors said that ten minutes later she would have been dead. After she was rushed to the hospital, the fever she had reached 107 degrees. She had a heart attack and her vital organs started to fail. There was no other choice but to put her in a coma.
A doctor familiar with infectious diseases had her checked if she had a tampon at the moment—after a test was conducted, it was clear that she had TSS.
Toxic shock syndrome is a dangerous bacterial infection, and sadly it could easily be mistaken for something else due to very similar symptoms and the fact that is a fairly rare condition.
The condition is caused by the harmless Streptococcus bacteria; the aforementioned bacteria normally just lives on the skin, but things are different and get quite serious once it invades the bloodstream, which is where it produces very dangerous toxins.
It all starts with high fever causing a body temperature of above 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Within hours, the symptoms become similar to a heavy flu condition and the sick person will start to cough and experience headache and muscle ache. Other possible symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and confusion.
The biggest risk for women is during their period when they use tampons, or if they have given birth recently. Using internal contraceptives could also be dangerous.
Many people overlook the important fact that the tampons must be changed every four to eight hours as advised on the packaging, but most women forget and leave them for the whole night, although Wasser claims she changed them regularly.
Unfortunately for her, there was already severe gangrene damage to her legs and amputation was the only way to proceed.
All of that did not slow Wasser down—she refused to let TSS ruin her modeling career. She was able to find jobs regardless, such as modeling for the holiday shoe collection by Nordstrom and for the Courageous Class campaign initiated by Kenneth Cole.
Toxic shock syndrome may not be a common problem, but women are definitely affected—every year one in 100,000 women is diagnosed with the disease. It first made headlines in the late 70s and early 80s after a few disturbing cases of young women who died after using the same brand of tampons. That brand was eventually removed from the market.
H/T – Source