Update (15th January 2018): Lauren Wasser, who lost a leg to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) in 2012, has had her remaining leg amputated because of the infection. The 29-year-old posted a picture of herself in her hospital bed alongside model, actress, Paralympic snowboarder and double amputee Amy Purdy. "Thank you so much for stopping by it really meant the world," Wasser wrote, tagging Purdy. "Thank you for showing me that life is only going to get better and that I have so much life to live."
Original story (29th December 2017): A model who lost a leg to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and campaigns to raise awareness about the condition has revealed she is about to have her remaining leg amputated.
Lauren Wasser contracted TSS from a tampon in 2012 at the age of 24. After coming close to death, she had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation on her right leg. Since then, she has continued to work as a model, actress and activist, teaching others about TSS and the potential risks of tampons.
Wasser chose to fight and save her left leg despite doctors' recommendations that she have both amputated, but she recently revealed she is about to lose that one, too.
Her left leg has never been the same as it had been pre-TSS. It has an open ulcer, no heel and no toes. "In a few months, I’m inevitably going to have my other leg amputated. There’s nothing I can do about it," Wasser revealed in an article for InStyle.
She explained that her body has produced a lot of calcium over the years, causing her bones to grow on her left foot. "Basically, my brain is telling my toes to grow back—and it got to the point where I need surgery to shave the bone down because it becomes too unbearable to walk. I can’t get my foot wet because of the open ulcer."
This ongoing struggle means she will have to lose her second leg, almost six years since she first contracted TSS. But despite being powerless to save her own leg, she is campaigning tirelessly to ensure other women don't end up in her situation.
Wasser has thrown her support behind a bill in the US that would require feminine hygiene product companies to list exactly what is in their products and the long-term health effects. "Considering that the vagina is the most absorbent part of a woman’s body and is a gateway to many of our vital organs, it is crucial that consumers know the reality of what could happen to them," she wrote in InStyle.
While extremely serious and life threatening, TSS is rare. It affects around 40 people in the UK each year, half of whom are women using tampons, according to the Toxic Shock Syndrome Information Service. Early signs include a high temperature, flu-like symptoms such as a headache and muscle pain, and diarrhoea.
Visit the NHS website for more information about the condition.
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