Phoenix Rising: Alex Lewis’s Extraordinary Journey from Despair to Renewal (Video)

I met Alex on top of a ladder about 10 years ago.

He came to do some work for me.

When i first saw him, it instantly he was so good-looking and and so nice.

He’s the most laid-back guy you could possibly imagine, very opposite to me and very kind.

So always have this little bit of a crush on Alex.

I used to be really vain.

I’d always spend time in front of the mirror.

Do my hair, make sure i look good, have the right shirt on, make sure my jeans are nice and tidy.

Good Shoes- always judging me by shoes.

We were just an ordinary family- me, Lucy and our son Sam.

Then, just over two years ago, i caught a common cold.

It was to change the course of my life overnight.

I remember Saturday morning.

Both Sam and Alex were ill.

Alex just opened up the door and his eyes were popping out of his head.

And he’s hot

And he didn’t have his top on and his whole top half was just purple.

Literally it was.

It was happening in front of me.

He was going purple.

You know he was shivering.

He didn’t really know if i was there or not.

He was like going unconscious.

I didn’t know what this was.

You know for me?

He had the flu ambulance emergency.

Tell me exactly what’s happened.

My husband’s body is full of rat.

It’s just rash.

He just looks at state.

He’s had the worst, worst headache for like two or three days, like crippling headaches, yeah, and he can’t um urine and there’s just always just blood coming out.

He’s just aching.

He’s taken.

In an extraordinarily rare case, streptococcal strand a, or toxic shock syndrome, had entered Alex’s body and was attacking it from within.

The doctor came in and sat with us and told us that he had strap a. i didn’t even know strap a existed, didn’t even know what strep a was, didn’t have a clue.

Everything was dying.

All his toes were dying, all his fingertips were dying, all his earlobes, his nose.

I thought we would lose him.

I didn’t think he would survive.

We had a decision to take.

The surgeon said the left arm was going to kill him if it wasn’t removed.

So i gave the approval for the left arm and she hurriedly spoke on and said: and following the arm, we’re going to have to take both legs.

And she then said: and i’ll do my best with the right arm, she worked on his right arm and she worked hard on that with the hand, but the arm has to go.

I came back the next morning and i felt very scared for him and very vulnerable for him, really vulnerable, you know.

I can recall waking up and i can recall the pain.

I can recall seeing friends around the bedside when things were really bad.

When you’re on life support and you’re in a code, you have no idea what’s going on, you have no concept of what’s happening and no one’s gonna tell you: well, we think you’re dying and i can recall the pain of, like God, that that is really real.

You know, my legs are gone.

They called me in and they were going to take him off his ventilator slightly to see if he had brain damage.

And all these consultants, all these nurses around me, and they said: would you ask him a question that he can shake his head out, that only you two would know in our relationship for the last eight years, every morning i’d wake up, say we marry.


So i asked: would he marry me to see if he had brain damage?

And he said no, so

No brain damage.

Absolutely fine, brain is working fine.

Over nine months, Alex undergoes 11 major operations to stabilize his body.

He spent most of his time in hospital, away from his family.

Alex’s Partner, Lucy, and their three-year-old son, Sam, visit him as often as they can.

Lucy, then, Sam, you know those two they mean the world to me.

I’m incredibly lucky to have them.

Lips are on the way flat, all open again, huh, all open again, so it’s a yawn to laugh without hurting.

Today Alex is ready for the first operation on his mouth.

The family hope it will help rebuild his face, but it will be the first in a series of operations that could last over two years.

I did a mood board.

He’ll give me a hug, but he certainly won’t kiss me.

Facial surgery, for the relationship with him is hugely important.

I think.

Hopefully it will make all the difference.

Ideally, to look like how i used to.

I found it now.

I was just genuinely excited about it, really really exciting to get to just knock it like that.

Yeah, I shall miss it.

After 13 hours in surgery, Alex has returned.

You know, you look at everything, Jesus.

What on earth is this?

What am i looking at?

And i think it’s it’s the shock factor.

I felt very scared, i felt alone, you know, i couldn’t stop crying and then, once my surgery explained about, it’s gone like excess skin on the left.

I fairly understood why.

You know you need it in case skin tightens too quickly, or you know you can use it again rather than keep taking the skin off you.

They can use your skin that they’re taking the first time.

You know, i said to this.

I said: look, you know, maybe people should be warned before i come out of hospital- what i look like.

You know- because it is quite a shock

And she’s like it’s not.

You know, you’re looking at it the wrong way-

A big red cow.

After almost a year of operations, Alex has returned home with the hope of adapting to a new life with his family.

Yeah, It’s going down, it’s gone down this side.

It’s all going to just grow into your face, isn’t it guys?

Yeah, That’s fine, you know.

Just no, look at me straight on.

No, just because you’ve got a bit sticking out, which is your extra flap.

No, i still look like a clown, does he?

Look like daddy cow?

I i didn’t think, going into the surgery, that it would have this profound effect on certainly me and on sand.

Unfortunately, it has come here.

I want to give you a big cuddle.

No, not this year, i think.

If i was a three and a half year old and i was looking at my father in in this condition, then i would find it very, very odd and very strange.

I miss that time with Sam and the closeness an awful lot.

It’s a, it’s the one thing i think it gets through.

I was too scared to touch him or ask for a cuddle.

And it’s frank.

You know he’s afraid of his body.

You know he must probably think to himself.

Oh my god, this is what she’s ended up with.

What Lucy must see.

You know from how i was to how.

Now, you know, i think i just can’t imagine what she thinks when she looks at me.

I think he struggles or not.

It’s very hard to seal her.

You know she works so hard all the time.

You know she’s always stressed out it’s.

You know it’s hard work

And you know i just think without all this it’ll be a lot easier one you know everyone.

I’m sure people do still think it.

You know why am i still with him?

Do i?

You know why?

I absolutely love, and it’s the first time that i’ve ever loved anybody as much as i’ve loved anybody.

You know what, when i got with Alex, i didn’t care who it was as long as a he made me smile.

It made me a cup of tea in the morning.

Now the cup of tea in the morning has gone, but he still makes me smile, argues, questions me, and he’s the only person that does that.

So yeah, love, not because he had nice legs, shocking legs, shocking legs, so i don’t really care about the legs.

But yeah, Love, Alex has been home with his family for six weeks but is now returning to hospital for an extended period of rehabilitation.

Are you gonna be okay?

Or are you in a hurry because this is your usual speed?

That is the usual speed, okay, so sometimes that’s really good, i can hit you around.

The most difficult thing for him is to lose his arms.

Yeah, Well done.

Using the bed, his loves in life for golf, cooking, reading, writing, drawing, and they all take all hands, you know.

And he was a big hugger.

Alex loved giving cuddles, especially with Sam.

Had i made him go to the doctors earlier or had i made him do all these things sooner?

You know, i saw he was ill but not now being able to hug his son and have that feeling of a proper cuddle?

I think, yeah, awful, have you?

Have you done much cutting up food?

No, none at all.

Okay, that’s good.

I need to find your big.

I don’t drink it in my mouth, i drink it.

No, you don’t drink it through your mouth.

Okay, eat your cocoa pops now, otherwise i’ll beat you.

Come here right.

Oh, my goodness, this button’s gone again.

Me, you and your minis.

You love your minis, don’t you be brave?

Be brave, be great.

Okay, you’ll love it, you’re gonna love it, trust me.

Good, don’t cry, because that’s right.

She’ll have so much fun.

Honestly, what did i say?

I said: if you cry, i cry.

Mummy doesn’t cry.

Come on, they’re nice.

Good, daddy.

Oh, it’s very difficult for Alex to, when they go to school and see all the other dads, all the other dads can run and play.

Alexander can’t have fun.

Alex feels it.

Of course he does.

He’s his dad and he wanted to do those things with him.

It hasn’t happened, but it will happen because Alexander with legs will be able to do the things that other dads do.

But i do think through this period he’s missed an awful lot.

They really go for the shoulders something, lift them right up to your ears and then all the way around.

Lovely, it’s been one and a half years since Alex fell ill.

He’s leaving home again and returning to hospital to increase his mobility by learning to walk on advanced prosthetic legs.

Yeah, They are the legs.

Yeah, It should be good kick with the right.

Okay, now, that’s got, that’s got no interest in staying on there.

So what’s happening is the air is getting not being stilled out.

So it’s coming loose while i’m walking, bringing air in, and that’s it.

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