Edinburgh mum thanks city beautician who saved her life after finding deadly skin cancer 'mark'
When Seonag MacKinnon went for a Mother's Day massage at city salon she had no idea there was a deadly ‘mark’ on her leg.
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Her daughter Catriona, 27, and sons Euan, 30 and Ramsay, 32, had bought her a voucher as a surprise gift.
But the massage therapist found a suspicious mark on the back of her left thigh that Seonag hadn’t spotted.
Dominika Lachowicz encouraged Seonag, who lives in Inverleith, to go to the GP and get it checked.
The mum-of-three said: "Dominika said that she was not a medic but thought it worth getting checked. It was dark and about one and a half inches long, a bit like a bruise.”
Seonag, a former Scotsman reporter, said she was surprised by the suggestion to go to the doctor.
But to be on the safe side she saw her GP and was given an appointment with a dermatology consultant.
She was sure it was merely a precautionary check – then the consultant delivered a huge blow.
The mark was a malignant melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body.
Seonag said: "Reality hit. About 10 minutes into the appointment, I found myself on an operating table.”
After an operation to have the cancer cut out of her leg Seonag went on to have further surgery a few weeks later.
She said: "The consultant told me that I had been very lucky because the cancer was out of sight, it was likely that I would have been unaware of it until it had advanced further.”
"Melanoma is apparently the deadliest of skin cancers and it spreads very quickly.
"It was surreal, as if he must have been talking about someone else. The operation was uncomfortable but I was so grateful and relieved that they tackled it so quickly. I received excellent care and they were so caring with it.
"The consultant said the beautician saved my life. Then added, I hope you are thinking of buying her flowers.”
Seonag, now a consultant, took a bunch of flowers to Dominika a couple of months after her treatment.
She said: "I put off going back because meeting her again meant confronting how differently things could have gone if I hadn’t met her two years ago.
"When I got to the salon I sat in the car for a few minutes so I wasn’t too emotional when I went in. Some time had gone by. But it was a special moment. I was in tears.”
Dominika said: "When she told me I had saved her life I was speechless. I was in shock and cried later. If she had only come for a back massage instead of full body I wouldn't have found the mark.”
Seonag said she could never thank Dominika enough and is now a regular customer at Beauty Island.
She added: "The voucher our children gave me for Mother's Day was obviously the best present anyone could ever have."
"My two sons are planning to marry their partners. If it had not been for her, I might not have been there for their weddings and all the other special days I can look forward to.”
"I’m so glad Dominika spoke up. Talk about the kindness of strangers! I feel very, very lucky.”