Superstition ain’t the way

Have you ever taken the time to actually appreciate Stevie Wonder’s lyrics?

If you haven’t your luck is in:


Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh

Very superstitious, nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious, the devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck, good things in your past

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer, Superstition ain’t the way, no, no, no

I would not describe myself as being even slightly superstitious. I am not the sort to salute a magpie or cross over the road to avoid walking under a ladder, and I have no qualms about opening an umbrella indoors. Maybe this is where I have been going wrong all these years.

In terms of my health I have been rather unlucky up until now. I was unlucky to contract encephalitis in the first place. I was unluckier to become infected with the rare form of NMDA encephalitis. And I was even unluckier to have two relapses to date. To put it in numerical terms there are about six thousand cases of encephalitis in the UK each year, a one in a million chance of getting NMDA encephalitis and a fifteen percent chance of relapse. All in all, this illness has been more than unlucky.

That is why I was so surprised to finally get some luck on my side.

A few days before we had booked to go on a family skiing holiday in Les Arcs I found out that I could have a stress fracture in my hip. Skiing would be out of the question if this had been the case. I traipsed across London and lay in the noisy MRI machine with everything crossed for this not to be the case. Thankfully, for once, I got the news I so desperately needed to hear. No stress fracture, merely tendonitis in my gluteus medius. Phew.

Having the opportunity to breathe in the fresh mountain air, speed down the snowy slopes and spend some quality time with my family was just what the doctor ordered. Not only that, but we were blessed with beautiful sunshine throughout the week, allowing me to top up my vitamin D and start to combat some of my steroid acne in time for the Summer.

Whist I was rushing down the pistes I had time to contemplate just how lucky I am. Although contracting encephalitis may have been somewhat unlucky, would I have had the opportunity to go on holiday with my parents and sister at the ripe old age of twenty-six had it not happened? To what extent would I be able to appreciate the beauty of the French Alps had I not spent so much time in hospital staring at a blank wall? If I had not relapsed would I have the self-belief to know that I can accomplish anything, even those treacherous black mogul fields?

Of course, these questions are impossible to answer as I cannot say what life would be like had I not contracted encephalitis. What I do know though is that this illness has allowed me to see the world in a different light. I know that everyone always says that you should live each day as though it is your last and it was not until recently that I have truly tried to embody this.

It is easy to blame the magpies, ladders and umbrellas of the world for our luck, but what is difficult is realising just how lucky we are to be alive.

Here are a few holiday snaps which make me feel ridiculously lucky:

skiing ruth and liz mum and dad skiing Ruth and Liz Skiing Ruth Dad and Liz skiing view from the top IMG_3304 IMG_3309 IMG_3322 IMG_3325 IMG_3328 IMG_3445 IMG_3369 IMG_3454 IMG_3434 IMG_3439 IMG_3462 IMG_3504 IMG_3521 IMG_3587 IMG_3557 IMG_3558 IMG_3632 IMG_3640 IMG_3649 IMG_3653 IMG_3725 IMG_3726 IMG_3722 IMG_3684 IMG_3755

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