Model Lauren Wasser, who lost one leg to toxic shock syndrome, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that she will “inevitably” need to have her other leg amputated in a matter of months. She said she’s in “excruciating pain” and must have weekly treatments for damage to her remaining foot.
Still, Wasser is using her ordeal to help others.
She’s been raising awareness about the potential risks of tampons, which have been associated with toxic shock syndrome, and promoting legislation pushed for years by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to mandate further research on feminine hygiene products.
“I think this is my purpose and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Wasser told the Post.
Wasser went home from a party feeling ill in October 2012 and woke up several days later with organ failure, perilously close to death, according to reports.
Doctors diagnosed her with toxic shock syndrome after they tested the tampon she was wearing that night. An infection led to gangrene, and her right leg was amputated below the knee.
Toxic shock syndrome results from a “rare” complication of certain bacterial infections, and “has been associated primarily with the use of superabsorbent tampons,” the Mayo Clinic website says.
In 2015, Wasser sued the Kimberly-Clark Corp., which manufactures the Kotex tampons she used, for being “unlawfully responsible in some manner.” The company told the Post that “the matter had been resolved.” Wasser declined to comment on the litigation.
“My legs were everything,” Wasser told the Post. “I had no idea what my life would be like without them.”