Six weeks after a racing fall that could have ended her career, an optimistic Michelle Payne has released a photo showing how serious her injuries were and how well her recovery is coming along.
The jockey shot to fame last year when she won the 2015 Melbourne Cup, becoming the first woman ever to do so.
Her horse Prince of Penzance was tipped at a 100-1 chance to win and she brought a strong message against chauvinism in the industry.
But it was her fall during a race in Mildura in Victoria on May 23 that saw her rushed into urgent surgery with a torn pancreas.
The Instagram post shows the size of the surgical scar on her stomach that has helped her avoid becoming a diabetic for the rest of her life..
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Payne told RSN Radio that her surgeon saved three-quarters of her severed pancreas and sewed it to her stomach.
"Provided it takes, it should be fine for the rest of my life. So very grateful to him for saving me a lot of hassle being a diabetic for the rest of my life," she said.
After she had been hospitalised for weeks and the extent of her injuries became known, many in the industry believed Payne was never going to race again.
According to the Herald Sun, Payne is eyeing a return to racing for this year's spring carnival, saying her comeback would be fueled by the fire in her belly.
"The main thing is to get better but at this stage I still have the fire in the belly for another spring carnival," she said.
"A binder will help protect my organs and the scar for the next month or when I start training again."
Her Melbourne Cup win and comments after the race were seen as a turning point for the heavily male-dominated industry, bringing Payne many fans and admirers in the process.