Lauren Wasser has revealed that she is rapidly losing her other leg to Toxic Shock Syndrome — a life-threatening infection that may eventually lead to amputation. She already lost her right leg and toes of her left leg to the infection caused as a result of using tampons.
In an emotional write-up for InStyle magazine, the model opened up about her painful condition that she is going through since the last six years and expressed her desire to raise awareness among girls.
"I have a golden leg that I am completely proud of. My left foot has an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes," she wrote and added that her left leg needs to be removed to rid her of the excruciating pain. "In a few months, I'm inevitably going to have my other leg amputated. There's nothing I can do about it," she noted.
The 29-year-old model contracted the rare, life-threatening infection in 2012 due to the use of tampons. Recalling the harrowing ordeal when she found out about the infection, she said that she did not realise that high fever was a sign of the infection that was slowly eating her body from within. Her mother had to call the police after she was unable to contact her daughter, who was lying unconscious at her home.
However, it was too late by the time she received medical help. The model was placed in a medically induced coma as all her organs were shutting down due to the infection. "When I woke up from the coma a week and a half later I remember my feet feeling like they were constantly on fire," she wrote in the article. "My left foot wasn't as bad as my right." The right foot was later amputated to prevent a spread of the infection.
But that did not end the years of suffering for her as she still copes with the consequences of the infection every single day. "I grew up playing basketball, but I haven't been able to run in five years. I'm in daily excruciating pain," Wasser explained.
"Over the years, my body has produced a lot of calcium, which causes my bones to grow on that foot" but doctors have to literally shave the growing bones to avoid further complications.
"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," the model, who featured in Vogue and Nordstrom, added.
Determined to let girls know about the hazards of using tampons, the model is currently campaigning for a law that will force tampon companies to test the product's safety before sending it to the markets.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome or TSS is caused by the bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. It generally lives harmlessly in the nose and mouth of a human body, but causes life-threatening condition once it enters the bloodstream. It usually affects women who use superabsorbent tampons during menstruation.
Once infected, the bacteria damages the body rapidly and in most cases, toxic shock causes failure of organ and limbs.