Dad left unrecognizable after losing his lips and four limbs to flesh-eating bug

Alex Lewis is a person who embodies the idea of not giving up on life. The father of one fell ill in November 2013 and initially mistook it for “man flu.” However, his illness quickly progressed to toxic shock syndrome, which had terrible consequences.

Doctors had to amputate his limbs in order to save his life because a flesh-eating bug was assaulting his body. Lewis was adamant that he would live despite the three percent survival rate they gave him.

He overcame all chances to make a spectacular recovery, and now he is busy enjoying his best life with his wife, Lucy Townsend, and son, Sam, proving his doubters wrong. This is the incredible story of Alex Lewis.

Alex Lewis

In our daily lives, it’s simple to gripe about trivial things. The bus may have been late, your morning coffee may have been a little chilly, or the television program you saw last night may not have lived up to your expectations.

Yes, it is acceptable to complain about things because everyone has a different life. Even if we might not be living in the perfect environment, it’s crucial that we take a moment every now and then to appreciate what we have.

I shall now always think about Alex Lewis whenever I lack the motivation to do a minor activity, like doing the dishes, or whenever I feel like whining about the little inconveniences in life. Along with his family, the father of one went through a tremendously trying time in 2013, and his life was forever altered.

Lewis survived a life-threatening incident that he initially thought was just a cold despite all odds. He has demonstrated today that you can accomplish amazing feats if you have a battling spirit, like ascending a mountain without using your arms or legs, for example.

Alex Lewis and his wife Lucy Townsend are happily married and reside in Stockbridge, Hampshire, in England.

They were raising their two-year-old son Sam in 2013, had settled down, and were managing the neighboring Lockerley pubs, the King’s Arms and the Greyhound, both of which have won Michelin Pub of the Year awards.

By trade, Alex was a constructor and interior designer who also enjoyed playing golf and going to the bar with pals. Nothing seems to be able to prevent the 32-year-old from taking pleasure in his time with his family and friends. Then, everything collapsed in November of 2013.

Alex Lewis

Alex developed a severe cold, which his wife Lucy initially mistook for “man flu.” Sam, his kid, and Alex both got sick, but it didn’t seem to be a major concern. The family believed that a little rest and sleep would likely be sufficient to treat the illness. Deep infection spread throughout his organs and tissues.

“Because we owned and lived in a pub and came into contact with lots of different people, I assumed it was a seasonal cold and thought it started off as man flu,” Alex Lewis said.

Alex, however, never recovered. Instead, he developed a temperature and soon began to urinate blood. By the time his skin went purple, Alex and Lucy were certain that this cold wasn’t your typical cold.

Alex had, in fact, contracted a type A streptococcal infection. He was transported to a hospital in Winchester, England, on November 17, 2013, when doctors found that the illness had spread deeply into his tissues and organs.

It had sparked sepsis, a potentially fatal illness that can lead to the failure of several organs. He developed necrotizing fasciitis, septicemia, and shock syndrome, and his body was turning against itself.

The family’s life was turned upside down within hours. Speaking to The Guardian, his wife Lucy recalled the horrible moment at the hospital when she thought Alex would die.

“I called an ambulance, and within eight minutes, they were there. At the hospital, we went straight into resuscitation, and I was told to say goodbye. His kidneys were shutting down, and they were going to put him on life support,” she recalled.

Alex Lewis

Alex remembered getting to the hospital, but everything after was “a blur.” Within days of arrival, doctors decided Alex had a three percent chance of surviving. His face, limbs, and legs had all developed black patches on their skin.

“They were going to turn my life support off, but they wanted to give me one more night to see if I improved, and they wanted to give my family a chance to say goodbye,” Alex told Metro.

“I cannot imagine what Lucy and my mum were going through.

“Having spoken to them since it happened, I think they were more in shock as they couldn’t believe something so incredibly invasive was happening so quickly,” he added.

“I don’t remember being in excruciating pain at this point, but my family remembers seeing me in absolute agony.”

The flesh-eating bug that had infected Alex’s limbs began to poison his body. His most important organs hadn’t yet been affected, but doctors knew it would soon. He was informed that after he was taken off life support, doctors would have to amputate his left arm above the elbow.

“It was a case of ‘this arm is killing me, so it has to go,’” Alex recalled.

Only, it didn’t end with one arm. Over the course of months, Alex had to have all of his limbs amputate, as well as parts of his face cut away.

Alex Lewis

“I can remember seeing my legs in hospital and how they were getting blacker and blacker,” he said. “The blackness was creeping up towards my waist. I don’t remember seeing my left arm in that condition, but I can remember my legs vividly.”

Skin from Alex Lewis’s shoulder to his lips became exposed. Alex needed surgery to repair the affected areas of his face, primarily his lip. The procedure was carried out by Salisbury-based plastic surgeon Alexandra Crick, who replaced some of his lips with skin from his shoulder. Lewis characterized it as “brutal.”

“It would take me about an hour to eat a sandwich at night, and that was with the help of the nurse,” he remarked.

Lewis underwent surgery to have a single piece of skin used to cover both his top and bottom lips at the same time.

“The last available skin for surgery was on my shoulder,” Lewis explained. “So they replaced the temporary flap with that. All my other skin had to be used for grafts or was scarred.” 

“Having my bottom and top lip done at the same time like this was a world first. It’s one piece of skin, and it was like if you imagine placing a bag in your mouth and then sewing around the edges. After the original operation, I had to have them every three or four months,” Lewis added.

Alex Lewis

After surgery, his face was essentially unrecognisable. Sam, his son, was too terrified to approach him. Work for Alex Lewis following a near-fatal infection

“It helped that he was so young when it happened. A lot of the gruesome stuff passed him by,” Alex explains. Lucy added that she tried to explain to Sam what had happened in childlike terms.

“We talk about Power Rangers a lot in our house, and we said Alex was going to be a red Power Ranger. That’s how I could explain it to a two-year-old – that his arms were coming off and being replaced. For a two or three-year-old, that was quite cool.”

Alex was allowed to leave the hospital after many months, but his and his family’s future lives would be considerably different. Fortunately, his right arm was saved at the elbow, which was quite important. He raised tens of thousands of pounds to purchase metal pincer-equipped prosthetic limbs.

Meanwhile, the surgery to cover his top and bottom lips was a great success; today, Alex can speak just as well as he could before the terrible events.

“That one elbow is his whole independence,” Lucy said.

“I had to relearn everything,” Alex said. “From learning to eat, drink, put my clothes on, to learn to use prosthesis, and to self propel a manual wheelchair.”

Alex Lewis

Lewis struggled to move about without his arms or legs, but his son Sam was a huge inspiration for him to restore his independence. Realizing that he intended to do good, Alex resolved to make the most of his circumstance as soon as he was back in the real world.

Raising money to construct a wheelchair factory in Ethiopia He and his wife set up The Alex Lewis Trust to maximize the support for Alex to allow him the opportunity for a full and independent life.

At the same time, Lewis realized that he could help others and, most importantly, other disabled people. So, besides working as a motivational speaker, he also engaged himself in several tech projects.

Alex became interested in studies involving the creation of prosthetics. He has tried a variety of items, including four-wheeled handles with solar power and battery assistance that were created by Southampton University masters students. Additionally, he had the chance to kayak 300 kilometers of the Orange River in Namibia and around the southernmost point of Greenland.

“Since becoming an amputee, I’ve been fortunate enough to try out a number of training methods to keep my fitness up, working with physios and visiting the Help for Heroes training facilities,” Lewis said.

“I’ve had first-rate guidance, but nothing has been as effective as EMS training, especially in such a short space of time.

Alex Lewis

“It’s amazing how the machine helps me to engage muscles I haven’t felt since I lost my arms and legs,” he added.

“I feel stronger in training, daily life tasks are easier, and I’ve gained greater confidence that I can take on these challenges.”

“We aim to improve the lives of the mobility impaired globally”

Additionally, Alex participated in the founding of the Wild Wheelchairs Project, a global initiative to enhance the lives of people with mobility impairments. Additionally, the project seeks funds to support the establishment and running of a wheelchair manufacturing factory in Ethiopia.

In 2019, he climbed one of Africa’s tallest mountains using a specially-adapted buggy.

“We successfully cycled through the Simien Mountain range in Ethiopia and ultimately up 4,200 meters of their highest mountain Ras Dashen,” Lewis explained.

“We disembarked at that point, and I climbed the last 300m to the summit.”

He added: “We used this opportunity to highlight the exclusion of the disabled in society in Ethiopia. We have also set up The Wild Wheelchairs Project, where we aim to improve the lives of the mobility impaired globally.”

Since 2013, a lot has happened in the lives of Lucy, Alex, and Sam, yet as Lucy claims, she doesn’t recognize his impairment. She made it clear that she is his wife, not his caregiver.

Alex Lewis

How is Alex doing right now? Despite having lost his limbs, he hasn’t changed and doesn’t allow his handicap get in the way of his goals. Instead, the devoted husband and father is making every effort to assist others and spread awareness of his predicament.

In fact, Lewis says that the year he lost his limbs was “the best year” of his life.

“I’ve lived more of a life in the past four years than I did in the previous 33, and it’s made me realize how much I love Lucy and Sam,” Alex mentioned.

“There was so much I regretted not doing when I had arms and legs, but I am not letting that happen again. I would not change anything, not in a heartbeat.”

When his father was confined to the hospital, Sam was terrified of him. But with time, he realized that his father, despite his limitations, is still a caring individual.

“He’s fine about everything now, and everything I do is to show that disability is not a problem. You just have to push on a find a way,” Alex said of his son. “He sees me as quite resilient, and as he gets older, he just accepts that this is me.

“I don’t want him to see me as someone who needs help, and because I am disabled, I get to bring home some cool equipment for him to play with,” he added.

There are no words to express the admiration we have for Alex Lewis. He is living proof that it’s never too late to give up or live the life you want, despite disabilities.

Alex Lewis

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