Brit thought he had man flu but lost limbs and some of face to Strep A
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A Brit who thought he had ‘man flu’ ended up losing his limbs and a portion of his face to Strep A.
“That was the best job I’ve ever had, it was just lovely,” he said during an episode of UNILAD’s Minutes With.
Alex went on to reveal that he had also been struggling with an alcohol addiction before he caught a spell of ‘man flu’ - or so he thought.
“I was a heavy drinker, alcoholic in reality… And I caught what I thought was ‘man flu’, really,” he said.
Alex had developed a ‘slight cough’ and the sniffles which ‘got worse’ and manifested into feverish sweats and meant that he had no appetite and no desire to consume alcohol.
“I felt terrible, really rough,” Alex admitted. But it wasn’t until he noticed blood in his urine about two weeks later that he realised ‘something was seriously wrong’.
Alex said: “I remember trying to put jeans on, I couldn’t do it, and trying to button my shirt, I couldn’t do it, and I just didn’t really know who I was, where I was.”
By this point, his skin was already turning purple as his body battled with a severe, invasive infection as a result of the bacteria.
“My eyes were popping out of my head, I was a complete mess. I was shutting down,” Alex said.
For Alex, this seemingly routine bacterial infection led to Toxic Shock Syndrome - a condition which is often associated with tampon use in young women - before he then contracted septicemia.
“At that point when I got the man flu, which is probably all it was initially, my immune system was incredibly low and couldn’t be bothered to fight off the incoming infection,” Alex said.
Out of the seven patients at the hospital he attended with the infection, the dad-of-one was ‘the only one to make it out alive.’
He revealed: “My body was being attacked from my extremities by the Strep [A infection]. All the Strep wants to do is destroy what’s in its path to get to my heart to kill me.”
Alex’s arms, legs, ears, lips and the end of his nose all turned black as a result of the infection in just one week.
“My body was in complete disarray. I was being kept alive by a huge amount of steroids and drugs,” he said.
In the end, Alex had around 130 hours of surgery in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where both of his legs were amputated above the knee, his left arm was amputated above the elbow, and his right arm below the elbow.
He went on to have further surgeries and reconstruction around his face to repair the damage caused by the bacteria, but credited his son as the person that kept him going through it all.
“It was my son. I didn’t want him to grow up without me, and I didn’t want him to struggle without me as well.”
Now having overcome the infection, Alex has since set up The Alex Lewis Trust to ‘maximise the support for Alex to allow him the opportunity for a full and independent life’.
He has recently travelled to Namibia with his best friend where he rode his mobility scooter across the desert, calling it a ‘priceless’ opportunity.
You can donate to The Alex Lewis Trust here.