Yesterday morning I learned of a young mother of three beautiful children that is currently fighting for her life due to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS.) I do not know the cause of her illness but I do know what her family is currently going through and I am heartbroken for them. Today two of my friends sent me a story of a 15 year old Michigan teenager who almost lost her life due to TSS from tampon use and then I got angry. In every story written about another person who has fallen ill with this authors state how rare it is. I’m not saying it’s not rare…but why did Lauren Wasser lose her leg due to it, why did Jemma-Louise Roberts die from it at just 13 years old, and why did I almost lose my life too? It’s easy to talk about how rare it is. It is much, much harder when you are one of the rare unlucky people who get it.
It is easy to talk about how many people use tampons and don’t get sick. Yes, that’s a fact. But what if it is you or your sister, wife, daughter? Sure, it probably won’t happen to you. But if it does? I’ve tried in many posts throughout this blog to describe what it’s like but I’ll try again more concisely. You will start to feel like you are coming down with the flu. You will get a high fever, most likely diarrhea, and you will feel weak. You may get dizzy because your blood pressure has plummeted. Your nose may start to bleed as your platelet count decreases. You will go to the doctor. You will never imagine that two days later you will be in intubated and in a coma. You will be very scared when you start to hear the crackling in your lungs as they begin to fill with fluid. If you are lucky the antibiotics will work and you will live. But your life will not be the same. Even as you regain your strength and look “normal” again you will not know what normal is anymore. Your normal may include depression and anxiety with a side of PTSD. You may have flashbacks on a daily basis that are exacerbated every time one of these stories come up again. You may cry because you know what their families are going through. You know what they will continue to go through. You know becuase you lived it.
But hopefully that will remain my story, and mine alone. I’ve talked about alternatives in a previous post but many people have asked me about them since I started this blog. I’ll go through them again here: