Melbourne born Joanne recalls a wonderful life with her parents, older brother and younger sister, filled with many happy memories, mainly in the sun.
“My melanoma journey began on January 15th 2016, when my GP found all the lymph glands in my left groin to be full of tumours. It became obvious that I was in big trouble as my oncologist and surgeon ascertained that I had many more tumours through my body and I was diagnosed with melanoma. The original melanoma has been removed from my left thigh in 2010 with clear margins. Unbeknown to anyone, some active cells had escaped and set up camp in my groin, only to activate six years later in 2016. Three surgeries and heaps of radiotherapy later, my health continued to deteriorate. Professor Georgina Long, decided that drastic action was needed. I am so fortunate that I was administered with immunotherapy drugs. Today, none of my tumours are measurable!”
Frankie, a mini Dachshund sausage dog, has become the apple of Joanne’s eye and one of her life savers. Joanne needed that something extra to get through her tough journey and it was Frankie that provided it. “Frankie and I enjoy being part of the Delta dog team. We visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools and corporate companies bringing happiness, joy, care, showing that life’s journey can be wonderful.”
Joanne hopes that by sharing her story of success, due to amazing research and treatment available at Melanoma Institute Australia, with Frankie by her side, she can save anyone going through the same journey.
“My favourite saying is, ‘does it really matter?’. In our life we are thrown many ‘curve balls’. How we deal with them will determine how our life pans out. Stay positive, be happy, avoid stress and negativity, surround yourself with good friends and welcome support from caring family.”