Kelly’s Story



My name is Kelly and I’m 29 years old.  My story began on December 18, 2005.  I woke up not feeling well, but just felt like I had the flu so I called in sick to work.  As day 2 came, I was feeling much worse, very dizzy, tired, throwing up, short of breath, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest.  I was just nearing the end of my period that day, and I knew with the dizziness I was feeling it wasn’t smart to drive so I called my cousin and asked her to pick up another box of tampons for me as I was all out.


By day 3, my entire body appeared to have a severe sunburn, I had developed thrush in my mouth, still very dizzy and disoriented, extremely short of breath and my heart was still pounding like crazy.  I started blacking out as I would get up to go to the bathroom and I remember running into the wall as I was so disoriented.  After losing control of my bowels in my bed, I knew I needed to see a doctor ASAP.  I didn’t know what was going on with me, still thought I just had a severe case of the flu.  I made an appt at the clinic, and by this time I was so weak I couldn’t walk without help.  As soon as the doctor took a look at me he knew something wasn’t right.  He noticed my blood pressure was extremely low, and then touched my skin and could see how red I was, then asked me when I had my last period.  I told him I just got over it but was wearing tampons up until the day before.  The first thing he said was “I think you have TSS”  He immediately called an ambulance to take me to the nearby hospital where I was immediately admitted to the ICU.


That day I had a central line put in, my family was told I wasn’t doing good and no one knew what was going to happen throughout the night.   Four days, 17 bags of saline, and many drugs later, I was told I could go home for Christmas!  That’s all I wanted was to be able to get out in time for Christmas with my family.  I went home very puffy and bloated from all the water weight, but I felt a million times better.  The doctors said it was a miracle, and because I was young and healthy I was able to bounce back so quickly.  For about a year after my TSS, I was experiencing some strange side effects.  Both my hands and feet peeled off completely and my hair was falling out in clumps.  I went to the Dr. several times during that first year because my body was still recovering from the shock which led to the peeling and my hair falling out.  Looking back, I had read that TSS insert in the tampon box several times and I had EVERY single symptom on that insert.  Thank the Lord my doctor was quick to diagnose as I don’t believe many doctors are educated on this.  It definitely is a miracle I’m here today!


  1. God Bless You ,I wish you well

  2. Wow, you were very lucky that your doctor spotted the symptoms so quickly – awesome doctor!

  3. Leanne Strong says:

    You were so lucky to have survived and that your doctor thought of Toxic Shock Syndrome right away! I have never had Toxic Shock, but I have had a few times when I thought I had it. I didn’t go to the doctor, because my mom didn’t agree to it, and it went away pretty quickly. I used to be SO afraid of TSS that I would NOT use tampons AT ALL! I talked about it with a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office when I was about 14 (which is a long time to wait, considering I was 10 and 3 or 4 months when I started my periods). She said Toxic Shock Syndrome is very rare (which I already knew), tampons are very safe, and that I most likely won’t get TSS unless I leave the same tampon in all night, or use a bigger tampon than I really need or something. I would be lying to say that fear went away completely, but I do use tampons when I’m on my period, now (even when I’m not swimming).

  4. Leanne Strong says:

    I’m just curious. What made your doc think you had TSS? Were you running a fever? Did you have a sunburn like rash?