Fri | May 25, 2018

Melissa Matthews- Gifted spirit and creative hands

Published:Monday | February 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

At first glance, Melissa Matthews strikes you as an unassuming gentle soul. Intrigued by the ease and precision with which she carries out her craft, you will be further captivated by her flawless skin complimented by her chic haircut and her pleasant spirit. Just a few moments with her and you will appreciate her immeasurable strength.

She decided to be a nail technician in 2003 when she realised that she was no longer happy to work for other people. There was something about the cat fights and the conflicts in the corporate offices that just did not sit well with her.

Matthews always had a love for nails. She jumped at the opportunity and for two years, she worked with another young woman from whom she learnt a few tricks. Her biggest takeaway was going by appointments so that her clients did not get restless.

Her new-found passion was quite fulfilling as she got the opportunity to be creative and work with her hands. It was a way that she could help enhance a woman's overall grooming. There is nothing more rewarding than a satisfied customer who spreads the word on her work. However, all of this almost came to an end in 2016 when she got a surprise diagnosis that changed her life.

"It had felt like my lymph nodes were swollen and since it was at the bone of the bra, initially I thought that was causing the swelling. But then it was two weeks and it was not going down so I went to my doctor," Matthews told Flair.

From there she did a mammogram that was inconclusive, then she did a breast X-ray, followed by a lumpectomy of the growth to confirm if this was truly cancer. It was. Though she had a strong support system of family and friends, her faith in God was unwavering and admittedly that was when helped her to maintain strength during this period. She had no option but to be strong at that point because she knew that she had to be there for her daughter.

While she knew that her daughter was trying to not be affected by the situation, she remembered seeing a sudden change in her attitude and health. When she asked her what was wrong and if she thought that she was going to die, her daughter had an emotional breakdown. Her daughter had already lost one parent and so staying strong for her was important.

Matthews opted for a mastectomy after listening to her doctor explain how he would have to clean the area and the possibilities of a recurrence. "It was better to lose one breast than to lose my life," she admitted.

After doing the mastectomy and it was time to remove the stitches, seeing her body for the first time was a bit comical to her. She never took her change to heart, she just looked in the mirror and thought, "Look how I look like something from Star Trek," she laughed.

She went on to do chemotherapy and radiation. She finished chemotherapy in March 2017 and radiation in August that same year. Matthews came out of the ordeal stronger but questioning her career choice a bit.

"People were wondering if it was my constant work with acrylic that caused it and I was considering doing something else," she recalled.

Speaking to her oncologist made her realise that this was not necessary. They reassured her that if that was the case, this was something that all nail technicians would be plagued with, thus it was safe, once she wore the right gear, to return to her business. She did.

Business has been good for Matthews and she enjoys doing straight polish as well as airbrushing. She offers manicures and pedicures, tips, acrylics, gel polish, airbrushing, and creative designs.

Melissa Matthews

Nail Technician

Phone: 412-8862

378-6925

Address: Tripple P Plaza,

Highgate St Mary

(Downstairs Electorial Office)