Getting back in the pool wasn't easy at first. My muscles took a long time to remember what they could do and chlorine is not an attractive smell. But as I've gone along the feel for the water has come back, I've got stronger, and I've even managed a couple of natural highs - that point when you go through the pain barrier and feel like you can go on and on.
One thing that has given me so much pleasure - the joy of being able to something really well. I'm a naturally clumsy person and I can't dance to save my life, but when I get in the pool, suddenly I become Fred Astaire. There's a real grace to athletes, a beauty in the way they move, the way their body becomes a machine in perfect harmony. It's lovely to feel something like that again, to be in touch with your body, to be able to feel your own strength and know that not too many people can do this.
It almost makes it worth the pain.