Just A Cold
It was only supposed to be a cold.
Almost all of us will get a cold at one point or more this year, again almost all of us will be fine, but as we've shown you before, none of us can take that fact for granted.
Alex Lewis came down with what he had assumed was a run-of-the-mill cold, but in reality he had contracted a rare strain of streptococcus. He ignored it and it cost him everything.
Streptococcus is common infection that can lead to tragic complications. For Lewis, the ordinarily harmless germ caused a severe case of blood poisoning. The resulting toxic shock syndrome put him in a coma - but his troubles were just beginning.
Streptococcus is a commonly occurring bacteria that causes millions of infections around the globe. We mostly know it was Strep Throat, sometimes when it's really bad we call it Scarlett Fever.
The infection can manifest into septicemia, or blood poisoning. This happens when the blood becomes too full of toxins that the body begins to shut down.
For Alex Lewis it was nearly the worst case scenario. As his infection raged throughout his body his doctors and family could only look on in horror. They gave him just a 3% chance of survival, eventually putting him in a medically induced coma.
As he lay there they saw symptoms that would lead them to take drastic action. His legs, arms, lips and ears were beginning to turn black - his body was dying from the inside out.
Left with few other options, the doctors began cutting away the dead tissue.
Lewis was left without arms, legs and lips.
His physical recovery was arduous, constant physical therapy was needed to try to learn to live a life without limbs. Plastic surgery helped repair his missing face, but it wasn't just the tole on his body that had doctors worried. The mental and emotional struggle of dealing with what happened nearly broke Lewis, especially when his 3-year-old son refused to hug or kiss his father, terrified of his appearance.
"Your face is almost unrecognizable," Lewis told a documentary crew shooting a story about him. "...and for a little boy to look at that, having seen his father upright, legs, arms, looking normal...we both struggled."
After hundreds of hours of therapy, both physical and mental, the husband and father is trying to live his best life. He's remarkably unbitter about his experience.
"I read a book called Man's Search for Meaning, and it said think about why you are here, and the how will follow
My 'Why?' is Lucy and Sam (his family) and the 'How?' - how I look now - that we can cope with."
The pair are fundraising for a pair of microprocessor knees that would allow him to play with his son Sam again, but they cost nearly $300,000. They will also be the center of a documentary titled The Extraoridinary Case of Alex Lewis.
The documentary will focus on how the family, despite having dealt with so much, still laughs and loves together.