Still Surviving

It’s been a ginormous, roller-coaster year for local marriage celebrant Jacqui Patterson (The Champagne Celebrant).

It all started with her exciting participation on Australian Survivor—an experience she says she absolutely loved and would do all over again.

That was followed by a nasty injury, where she tore tendons in her shoulder which required major surgery. 4 screws later after 6 weeks in a sling, she’s looking ahead at months of physio still to come.

It was during her recovery phase after the operation that her sister was giving her shoulder a massage and noticed a mole that looked a bit ‘funny’. It was slightly raised and had both black and white colouration.

Thankfully Jacqui took her sister’s discovery seriously and was in at the doctor’s the very next day! He took a biopsy and a few days later made a phone call, which to this day is still a bit surreal for Jacqui.

‘When he said you’ve got a grade 4 Melanoma, I thought, are you talking to me, did I just hear you right?  So much was going through my head—what does this mean? How bad is this? What’s ahead for me? But it still didn’t seem real.’

‘After it sank in I decided I was ready for a fight. I put the boxing gloves on. I never felt knocked down. I was going to give it everything.’

So, Jacqui had an operation to remove the mole and any lymph nodes that had been affected. After that the news was promising. All the mole, plus 3 lymph nodes, were gone. But even better, no further treatment would be necessary. Jacqui got the all clear.

Now she’s on a mission: to encourage people to check their skin and in particular any unusual moles.

‘I just feel so lucky,’ she says. ‘If it wasn’t for the shoulder operation, I never would have taken any notice of that mole because it was behind my shoulder. So, my message is check your own moles and check your friends, family and partners too.

Don’t wait, you have nothing to lose, except maybe your life!

‘Melanoma doesn’t discriminate.’

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