Last week it was the doors of the Macmillan cancer centre that were in front of me. This week it’s the deep blue sea. Having finally shaken off the flu and got through all my oncology appointments I’ve decided it’s time to take the plunge.

It feels like I’m starting all over again after what felt like a great three weeks training was derailed these last couple of weeks. My left leg feels pretty weak and walking is a challenge but I know that if I want to have a good quality of life I have to get strong again.

But – and I am sure you must all have felt this – sometimes a challenge is so big that you don’t even know where to start. Part of our minds is constantly scanning for danger or reward. It’s hard wired through years of evolution to avoid danger, that’s what kept our ancestors safe all those years ago.

That part of my mind right now is thinking that lying in bed is safe and jumping into training is danger – it’s far more comfortable and safe just to stay right here.

Searching for inspiration, I find strength from a fellow member of my spinal cord tumour family, even though it is a young girl I have never met. It’s funny, we hear all about loads of great people in life but some of the strongest of all we will never hear about unless we go and seek their stories out.

That is one bonus of Facebook, the ability to share stories, stories which can bring huge power and inspiration to so many. Although, as one of my friends said to me the other day, being inspired is one thing, it’s what you do with that inspiration that really counts.

I read the story of a young girl, Megan, with lots of ambition and a life in front of her. It’s heart breaking to also read the word tumour alongside her name.

It’s hard enough dealing with this stuff at any age but reading about how a child’s dreams in life can be challenged by the word tumour is tough. But Megan is like any of the other children I met in my time at University College London Hospital, a happy young girl, going through school and smashing it on the

athletics track.

During the short time I have followed her story and chatted with her mum Karen, I have never seen her complain or focus on what has happened. She has set goal after goal and last week ran a personal best in a 5k on the track.

It brought back memories of a 12-year-old boy from Edinburgh who wrote to me in hospital in 2016 saying how I had inspired him through his own brain tumour. When I saw him running his 800m the following year I couldn’t have been more happy.

It is a perfect example of how we perceive obstacles in our own life, you can see them as challenges or threats. Young Megan clearly sees this just as another challenge and has inspired me to work harder. The only question is what am I going to do with that inspiration?

Well, I’m certainly not going to sit on the safety of my bed that’s for sure. It’s time to get into the pool.

Having said that, 50m is a long way after a such a long break; one session in the local 25m a few weeks ago is a long way from an outdoor 50m for someone who is not a swimmer.

I find for some reason today I am struggling getting the swimming cap on. As I faff around getting ready, this army guy appears and asks if I need help and before I can reply he says “there is no shame, my friend, we will all need help at some point in our lives”.

It was a very powerful comment, a good reminder it’s okay to ask for help. Two thousand metres later, I have to, as I work out how to get myself out the pool. I am still learning to move a body that only really has one side.

People often say they could never go what you go through, but I think they would be surprised. It’s in our DNA to survive. We have just made things comfortable around us. That’s why it’s so important to push out your comfort zone each day and try new things.

So after my 50m pool experience I thought I would try open water swimming again. I found myself wading into the sea thinking this is pretty rough, and after minutes of failed attempts I felt defeated so decided to quit.

It wasn’t easy getting back to dry land as I couldn’t stand so found myself dragging my body on to the beach. I stood up and was pretty annoyed with myself.

But I was reminded of what a friend told me about basketball legend Michael Jordan’s approach to success and failure.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career,” Jordan has said. “I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

So I stood for a minute looking at the rough water, put my goggles back on and didn’t even think. I just got back in and swam 1000m. I tasted more saltwater than I wanted to but once I was out there I was buzzing.

It’s okay to fail as long as we learn and go again. The biggest failing is not even trying in the first place.