In January, model and activist Lauren Wasser, who lost her right leg to toxic shock syndrome in 2012, decided to have her left leg amputated below the knee. The leg had been severely damaged as a result of the infection and still caused her continual pain.
In an interview published Wednesday, the 30-year-old told People she’s felt “super amped” since the surgery.
“The other day I realized I wasn’t in pain for the first time in five years,” she told People. “It hit me and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m okay. I feel normal, I feel good. I feel like what everyone feels like.’”
Wasser lost her right leg when she came down with what she thought was a nasty flu when she was 24.
When she eventually went to the hospital, an infectious disease doctor asked her if she was wearing a tampon. Even though she said she had changed it numerous times that day — she still tested positive for TSS, a rare but serious complication from bacterial infection that can be caused by wearing tampons.
An infection led to gangrene, and her right leg was amputated below the knee. Though her left leg was also damaged due to the infection, she fought to keep it.
In December, Wasser told the Washington Post that she would “inevitably” have to have her left leg amputated due to “excruciating pain.”
She backed up that assertion when speaking to People.
“For five years of my life I was just getting by — every day was painful,” she said. “I couldn’t wear heels, I couldn’t run and I could only walk for like 20 minutes. That’s not living.”
Despite not feeling her best, Wasser has made it her life’s mission to continue living her best life — and she’s done an extraordinary job,
The activist has been raising awareness about the potential risks of tampons 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 in December.
In 2016, she made her runway debut at New York City Fashion Week sporting her now-trademark golden prosthetic leg.
She told People that she’s getting a second gold prosthetic for her left leg in just a few weeks.