TUESDAY is D-Day minus one. It is raining. What do you do when you know there is a risk it will be your last-ever day walking?

Wednesday – surgery day - will arrive before I know it. And I really have no idea what Thursday will look like.

I first met Chris Hoy after the Olympics in London. You were always going to stuff back then.

As it happened, I grew up in the village just along from Craig MacLean, Chris’s great pal.

So me and Chris got to know each other a bit, and just became mates. I was pleased he called me the day I got out of hospital after an angiogram in early November. While I had been through this whole process three times before I told him I was struggling mentally this time around.

He asked me if I knew Dr Steve Peters, the formidable psychiatrist who has worked so successfully with a variety of sports stars including the British Cycling team. He had left British Cycling before I got there, but Chris said he would give him a call.

Dr Peters phoned that night and the 30 minutes I had on the call changed my life. That is no exaggeration. I felt a million times better already. I was ready to go into surgery.

If I hadn’t spoken to him, I really would have struggled in theatre and rehabilitation. Not to mention the radiation side of things, which still looms on my horizon now. He painted a really clear picture for me and gave me something to work on which really helped.

That 30 minutes had changed my whole mindset about what Wednesday would deliver, about what coping strategies I should use to approach it. He made me aware of the thoughts that would break through my subconscious. Each one of them was trying to sabotage me.

The weekend before surgery was like giving oxygen to someone who is drowning. I knew it was my last before going into the unknown. I didn’t want to sit still, but I also couldn’t afford to get sick either.

Jamie Murray sorted me some tickets for the ATP finals. This was just what Steve had suggested. Don’t sit around waiting for surgery. Go out and live. So between the tennis, hitting the gym and seeing friends, I never really thought about Wednesday once.

Arriving at hospital when you are not in pain is an extremely unsettling experience. I walk up to the nurses’ desk and ask for a bed even though I don’t feel sick. You don't look like a patient, she says.

This is much more worrying than last week. I know I’m in for surgery for surgery this time. The night goes slowly. I lie looking at the tiles on the roof listening to beeps and moans of pain.

The morning comes. Shower and time to put on the gown and surgery socks. No turning back now. It’s a waiting game until the porter arrives asking me to come with him.

I’m walking down the ward now in this gown and socks with a complete stranger. My family are behind me as I make small talk with this nice porter who is meeting me at my lowest. Before I know it I’m stood at the doors. Sorry only patients can go through.

I hug my family and wave goodbye, not knowing if I will see them again. But I dismiss that thought quickly. I know I will. I just don't know when.

I walk into the anaesthetic room for second time in so many days but being met with such incredible people puts you at ease. I notice the temperature this time. It’s so cold, like a freezing winter's day. I feel like I am walking on fresh snow. 

I am so cold on the table but I get a nice warm blanket and we are talking about cycling. It’s very relaxed and I am unaware of everything that’s happening around me or what’s about to happen. The only pain I will feel is the jab in the hand.

Oxygen on and I hear those words again. Okay David, just relax. Tell me about your cycle across the Alps. I visualise it, praying as I close my eyes that this is not the last thing I ever see.

Coming round is a bizarre experience. There is a moment where I believe I am a giraffe and I am on the Savannah. These are good drugs.

Begging for water, I feel a small sponge enter into my mouth. You’ve got to be kidding me. I need proper water, not some sponge. This is merely a safety precaution to stop you being sick, but you try rationalising that after seven hours of surgery. 

I regain consciousness and my mind starts to calm. I can move, I can move. I am alive. I will compete for GB again.

As hard as I try, I’m not sure I will ever be able to put that feeling into words. The fear I had of waking up paralysed was so overwhelming. Or simply not waking up at all.

The medical team in that surgery, led by Professor David Choi, were incredible. I’d never felt this good after surgery. Another source of reassurance was that we used a monitoring tool where we get real-time feedback on what is happening within the cord.

High dependency ward bed 3. That was me, one nurse spending the whole night looking after me. A small lady from Peru, it was as though we had been best mates for years.  

But that first night the ward was quiet and I lay awake feeling so hot and uncomfortable. I had tubes and lines going everywhere, making sleeping all most impossible, yet it was what I needed to stay alive. The worst was the catheter.

Bed two was a gentleman in his mid-50s. He had had a pretty rough time and hadn’t woken up in weeks.

The two emotions as I lay there were vivid. One was gratitude that I can talk and still have my mind. What else do we really need in life?

The other was sadness. I was sad that this man was at a stage in his life now where he was fully dependent. There were moments where he would wake up and in panic start to rip out all his lines and try to get out the bed. This is when the mitts have to come out. It is heart-breaking to watch.

His wife travelled for four hours each day for the short glimpse of him opening his eyes or moving. I started living in hope for them. Every waking hour I was just lying opposite him watching. He loved his football and his wife would hold the phone next to him to see if he would respond.

Lying in a high dependency ward it would be easy for the environment to override your mind and to drive your spirits down and ultimately break you. So I close my eyes and try to take my mind beyond this environment.

This is the beautiful thing of having an understanding of neuroscience and how the mind works. You can run your mind rather than letting the emotions of the mind run you. Thank you, Dr Steve.