- Publish Date
- Monday, 18 December 2017, 9:30AM
*Warning article contains content that may disturb*
Model Lauren Wasser lived a luxurious lifestyle most girls envied.
But in 2012 her world turned upside down.
She thought she was getting the flu. But hours later she was in the hospital having her leg amputated all because of a toxic tampon.
Wasser lost her leg after a fatal bout of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and thought she would never model again.
But since her unfortunate life-changing situation, the 28-year-old's career has taken off - now campaigning and teaching young girls about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
The day Wasser's life flipped on its head started like any other. In 2012, when she was just 24, Wasser ran out of tampons and went to the shop to buy more.
Returning home she changed her tampon. But hours later she began to feel ill.
She had flu-like symptoms but decided to go to a party with her friends the same night.
Upon her arrival, her worried friends told her she looked very unwell and sent her home.
She returned home and her life changed forever.
"The next thing I remember was my blind cocker spaniel barking and pounding on my chest," she told Style Like U.
"I came to and I could just hear pounding on the door and someone saying 'police, police, open up'.
"I was so confused and thinking 'why are the police here'.
"The police officer came in and he told me I really needed to call my mum because she is really worried about me.
"I took myself back to my bed and plugged my phone in to call my mum."
Her mum asked if she needed an ambulance but Wasser turned it down. her mum tried to call again but Wasser didn't answer.
"She called the police and they came round, it took them 30 minutes to get through my front door and then found me on my bedroom floor face down.
"I had a 107F fever, my kidneys were failing, I had a heart attack.
"Thank God there was an infectious disease doctor there [at the hospital] because as soon as they found me I was plummeting so bad they couldn't understand why a healthy, young 24-year-old like me was dying.
"They called the specialist down and he checked if I had a tampon in.
"As soon as they located it got sent to the lab and it came back as TSS and as soon as they removed it I started being more receptive to treatment.
"They were telling my mum and my godfather to start preparing my funeral because there was no way I was walking out of there — it would have been a miracle."
Wasser was placed in a medically induced coma, but soon learned she needed to have her leg amputated after waking and overhearing a nurse on the phone.
Wasser said the she heard the nurse say: "I have a 24-year-old girl here who is going to need a right leg below the knee amputation."
She then started to panic and cry.
"I knew my legs were not good but I just couldn't ... hearing those words come out of her mouth and being by myself, it was so surreal.
"I just kept crying and screaming and wanting my mum."
Wasser said reality hit when doctors wrote "yes" and "no" on her legs, indicating which leg was going to be removed and which leg wasn't.
"To see that visually on your leg and seeing my mum kissing my leg knowing that that's the last time, it was crazy," she said.
"It was f****** hell."
Wasser, now 28, has revived her career, showing off her new gold prosthetic leg.
This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.