I sort my rucksack before my weekly swim as I recall the tremor of fear when I stuffed my costume, towel and toiletries in for the first time. A whirl of unanswered questions occupied my mind...
How would I get into the pool?
Once I was in, would I be able to let go of the side?
Would I be able to swim?
One thing I knew for sure, people would stare as I dragged my left leg and gripped Swimming Sues arm for support. As a mind reader I can hear their thoughts: I wonder what has happened to her, stroke maybe? Not sure I could come if I walked like that.
I have learnt through counselling that I am making up stories which may or may not be true.
Now I make up positive stories to tell myself as I head to the pool... wow isn't she amazing!!; brave to be learning to swim again; I hope I could be that brave if anything happens to me.
This week I am tired and as the baby pool glistens like a mill pond in all its empty glory, I opt for that. We approach the lifeguards explaining the brain tumour and learning to swim; amidst smiles we get our personal lifeguard, he opens the gate and lets us through.
These lads and ladies, dressed in blue and red at our local council run leisure centre do everything with a smile. I was offered (rather than having to ask) the metal steps on wheels when I tried the big pool last week; not a glimmer of judgement on their faces as we chat about swimming strokes and two 'young' ladies occupying their time in the baby pool.