Model Lauren Wasser is spreading the word about Toxic Shock Syndrome after she nearly lost her life.
In 2012, Wasser got incredibly sick after replacing a tampon. She, at first, thought she just had the flu, but after doctors removed the tampon, they discovered she had TSS-1, or Toxic Shock Syndrome. She was ultimately informed that they’d have to amputate her left leg below the knee.
TSS is caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. It breeds inside highly absorbent tampons and, if there’s a cut in the vaginal wall, can get into the bloodstream, causing infection.
Wasser has since become an advocate for the Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act, which would require tampon companies to put labels on their boxes warning about their potential dangers. But, for some reason, this bill has been rejected by Congress 10 times.
[demand safer products]
She says “I am writing this in hopes that you will understand that we, as women, need more education about TSS. It is time that we, as consumers, demand safer products and more transparency about what is going into our bodies.”
In a recent editorial for InStyle magazine, she says that it’s inevitable that doctors will have to amputate her other leg as well. She writes “I haven’t been able to run in 5 years. I’m in daily excruciating pain. I have a golden leg that I am completely proud of, but my left foot has an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes.”
In recent years, Wasser has returned to modeling, and acting in the Audience Network series Loudermilk. She continues to tell her inspiring story on her Instagram, @theimpossiblemuse. She also credits her girlfriend, photographer Jennifer Rovero, with helping her recovery process. She writes: “It wasn’t until my girlfriend took hundreds of pictures of me as I recovered from my amputations that things started to change. The process was a sort of therapy for me, which Jennifer coined as “photo therapy.”
These days she says she’s only looking toward the future.
Were you aware of Toxic Shock Syndrome? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.