discount nrl jerseys ‘I’m incredibly lucky my heart can take it all’
His body paralysed with drugs and only able to move his eyes, he felt sheer panic as he caught sight of the new face surgeons had spent more than 20 hours creating.
“I have never felt so scared. I was absolutely petrified,” he says speaking from his hospital bed.
“It started a complete mind melt down. I started tripping about where I was, I couldn’t wake up, I couldn’t stay awake, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t focus. That series of different nightmares went on for six hours.”
The 34 year old young dad who lost all four limbs and parts of his face when a common cold turned into a deadly bug had undergone two days of gruelling surgery to open his mouth back up and give him back his lips.
Yet despite enduring hours under the knife and days of confronting the fear of not being able to recognise the reflection he saw in the screen of his hospital TV, Alex remarkably says he is happier in his body today than ever before.
Alex, who is adamant the Daily Echo publishes his photo so he can be a role model to his three year old Sam, says: “I want my son to be proud of me and at ease in his skin and with everything he does.
“You have no clue what life is going to throw at you and you have to deal with it as it comes.
“I don’t want him to stress about the little things in life.
One day later, Alex’s lips were built up using flesh from his shoulder and two veins were fused into his artery so his new flesh has its own blood supply in a 14.5 hour operation.
Dr Crick temporarily stitched extra skin onto the left side of Alex’s mouth which will be removed in two weeks if there are no problems with the healing process.
Though Alex had to lose all four limbs when the Strep A infection developed into septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome, he says the facial reconstruction has been mentally more difficult to come to terms with.
“It’s the strangest thing, when it comes to limb loss, you can cope with it. It is something you can adapt to because you know long term you will walk again and you will use your arms again in some form.
“When it comes to facial reconstruction or facial disfigurement, I think vanity gets the better of you.
“I started thinking ‘what does Lucy see now?’ Physically it’s not all there. There are vast amounts missing. That’s very hard to get your head around.”
“I saw my mouth opening and thought ‘wow, that’s amazing, I’ve got my mouth back.’ I shut my eyes and thought ‘great, I can eat whenever I want’ but then I thought of noodles. I love noodles but I can’t twist a fork around for noodles because I haven’t got a hand. I felt so deflated by that one notion of not being able to eat noodles properly.
“That’s what did it. Noodles broke me,” Alex laughs.
“I soon snapped out though. I was guilty of thinking about the here and now rather than what the future holds for me.
“And you can’t underestimate the effects of the anaesthetic. Though I am an adult, physically I am 3ft 10in and 43 kilos.
“You can’t think about what you can’t do.
And though nervous about people’s reactions to his new face, he is looking forward to showing off the impressive surgery to the outside world and sending a positive message to others with facial disfigurements.
“I think a lot of people I know will thankfully appreciate the level of surgery and the skill that was undertaken in it all, and they won’t just see two huge puffy lips.
It is quite comical to look at. I do find it funny in a macabre kind of way, a weird funny.
“I won’t shy away from it though. It will affect me at times and I’m sure I’ll see myself in the mirror and think ‘look at the state of that’ but that’s part of it.
“I am sure everyone who knows me will see me.
“Everyone who doesn’t know me will just think ‘thank goodness that isn’t me’ so I guess in a roundabout way I can help others.”
It is that positivity Alex clings onto, as he sets his sights on being able to walk hand inhand with Lucy and Sam down Stockbridge High Street as if nothing has happened.
“This whole process has made me see what I’ve got which is just so amazing.
“Of course I wish I didn’t have to go through this to find what I have but I have changed for the better as a result.