Riki Flutey has recalled the lonely moments of realisation that his British and Irish Lions tour might have been destroyed by injury.
The Lions have already lost wing Leigh Halfpenny (thigh) and flanker Stephen Ferris (knee) from their 10-game South Africa trip.
But England centre Flutey has emerged from a dark tunnel through a combination of his own iron-willed discipline and expert Lions medical care.
A knee problem suffered in the opening game against the Royal XV 12 days ago left him facing an immediate fitness battle.
Flutey's unflinching determination to recover though, meant there was never a chance of him throwing in the towel.
"I remember getting tackled against the Royal XV. I got up and rubbed my leg and didn't think anything of it," he said.
"I carried on with the game, then got back to my room and got into my shirt and jeans ready to go out with the boys and I felt it stiffening up quite a bit.
"I decided to stay in and ice it up every two hours. I've done everything I possibly can, with help from the medical team, to get my knee to 100% and where it is at now.
"It was quite lonely being in my room just icing it up, but at the end of the day that is what it takes. I knew Wednesday's game was a sort of a deadline for me, so I had to do everything I could.
"It was an old cartilage thing that flared up a little bit. Some fluid in behind my knee got into the joint."
Flutey's appearance as a second-half substitute against the Sharks last night was the prelude to his probable first tour start when the Lions tackle Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
His Lions experience though, could so easily have proved a tale of despair and heartbreak.
"The medical team have been absolutely fantastic," he added.
"I've been honest with them the whole way through. On Monday this week, I needed to be at 70%, but I was running at 95% really comfortably.
"Mentally, last night's game was a good tester, coming off the field knowing I got through it all. I put a few side-steps in, I was tackled on the knee and I feel really confident now.
"It was quite a lonely place, in my room by myself, icing up and talking to my wife telling her I may well be coming home. At the end of the day, that's the reality of it."