#128: Quadruple Amputee Alex Lewis On Surviving A Flesh-Eating Bug

I am joined this week by an outstanding gentleman whose story I am sure will inspire you to respond differently to life’s challenges, both big and small.

At the age of 34 following 14 days of ‘man-flu’ symptoms, Alex Lewis’ life changed forever. After being admitted to an Intensive Care Unit, Alex was diagnosed with Strep A, leading to septicaemia, which prompted doctors to give him just hours to live or a 3% chance of survival. Remarkably Alex survived, but his illness resulted in the amputation of all four limbs and an experimental surgery to reconstruct his lips and nose.

Alex’s story was the subject of a Channel 4 documentary “The Extraordinary case of Alex Lewis”, and received wide attention in the media. Despite his harrowing experience, Alex has challenged the limits of his disability, completing some of the most extreme physical challenges that were deemed impossible for an amputee.

Emphasizing the importance of gratitude, the power of a positive mindset and the desire to progress despite any circumstance, Alex shares how he now lives a life that he never imagined possible, and how any change whether positive or negative, can change your life for the better – if you allow it to. 

Alex is introduced onto the show and gives us an overview of his remarkable story, an illness beginning with flu-like symptoms but resulting in an unimaginable and life-changing condition. [3:04]

Alex shares his timeline of surgeries, being unaware and not knowing what limbs he would have lost by the time he woke up after each procedure due to complications of his illness. [9:54]

Alex explains how his experience of losing limbs and having an altered facial appearance as a result of his many surgeries sent him and his family on an emotional journey from anger and devastation to acceptance and hope. [13:26]

Alex shares how the love and support of his family despite the circumstances and results of his illness, awarded him the determination to survive and persevere.  [20:24]

Alex explains his transition from permanent hospital care, to moving back home and the adjustments he faced. [23:09]

Alex recounts his initial struggles and challenges in rehabilitation after receiving basic prosthetic limbs, due to financial and funding issues. [26:56]

Alex shares his desire for adventure post recovery, as a means to test his physical limits and take advantage of all opportunities available. [34:28]

Alex discusses examples of his most exhilarating and extreme experiences, including hand cycling 15,000 feet up Ethiopia’s highest mountain range, and kayaking around the most southern tip of Greenland. [38:07]

Alex explains how his many trips across Africa for various adventure activities and personal development, inspired him to contribute to the development of equipment to better the lives of those living with disabilities including amputees.  [43:10]

Alex shares his plans for the future, including University research & his involvement and work with Project Limitless. [48:01]

Alex closes the interview expressing his gratitude for his experience and life, with a newfound mission to make a difference in the world and to the lives of many. [54:49]

“Their faces recoiled in horror by what they were looking at. My skin had turned purple”. [4:37]

“On the third day, they gave me a 3% chance of survival”. [6:30]

“I had no idea how my body was going to work in the future”. [23:48]

“Ever since that point, I’ve just said yes to everything”. [37:42]

“If anyone had the ability to give me my arms and legs back, I wouldn’t take them”. [54:58]

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