The world athlete of the year Valerie Adams has revealed she held doubts about being able to compete again following surgery last year to repair nerve damage in her right arm.
The reigning Olympic and World champion shot putter from New Zealand is back at her training base in Switzerland and hopes to return to competition in July as she builds up to the August World Championships in Beijing.
Adams said the surgery in New Zealand six months ago involved moving the nerve from the bottom of her forearm to the top by threading it through a hole cut in the muscle.
"I did have doubts a week or two out of surgery which is a normal way of thinking."
"I lost feeling in my ring finger and my pinky for a very long time and that scared me," she said.
Adams was unable to do simple tasks like using her phone, cutting her finger nails or tying her hair, which she said made her question whether she'd be able to live a normal life.
"My confidence in my hand has come back, but I really had to dig deep doing the most bizarre exercises to try and make it work."
"You're talking about a power athlete who does things in big masses, but I had to do very gentle exercises with my hand and awkward stretches," Adams said.
The 30-year-old said she had to be patient with her recovery, which is why she delayed the start of her season and won't be competing at May's opening leg of the Diamond league in Doha.
"I'm hoping to do two (Diamond League events) before World Champs and compete in other competitions."
"When I'm ready to compete that's when I'm going to compete, I don't want to go out there and compete at 80 percent," she said.
With her goal still to defend her title at the Olympics in 2016, Adams said she hasn't considered life beyond the Rio games.