Okay, now we're getting somewhere lol
Select All>Define Pattern places your pattern into the preset manager, BUT! it does NOT save them. It will appear in your patterns menu by default until you open another .pat file, which then overwrites your pattern... when this happens, you get that prompt to save your patterns.
The only way to make sure that you always have your patterns is to SAVE them into a .pat file. So:
1. Create your seamless pattern
2. Select All>Define Pattern (this places it into the preset manager but does NOT save the pattern, it can be overwritten & lost forever!)
3. Go to Edit>Preset Manager>Patterns and click the "Save Set" option to save all the patterns into one .pat file.
Now, if you go through and delete patterns accidentally, you should be able to go back to Edit>Preset Manager>Patterns and click on the "Load" button to find the .pat file you just saved w/ all of your patterns.
Once you do this, THEN you can go ahead and follow Tracy's instructions to save just that one pattern into a .pat file for sharing purposes.