Brave Carolann Monteith battled back from a severe allergic reaction which threatened to end her dream.
The 35-year-old from Shieldhill always wanted to run her own beauty salon. But she feared it may never happen after doctors warned she may have to give up on her profession entirely after contracting Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP).
The rare condition, which attacks the immune system and causes skin to shed and scale, left the mum-of-two in such pain she was unable to walk or drive. Although it is not life-threatening, PRP can severely restrict sufferers’ quality of life.
It is thought Carolann suffered a reaction to a product she was exposed to during a private sector nail course in October.
The four years she had spent studying beauty therapy at Forth Valley College (FVC) appeared to be in vain.
However, determined to fight her way back to full fitness, Carolann chose to follow a rigorous home recovery programme which consisted of moisturising her skin, wrapping it in cling film, burning bay leaves in her bathroom, using a turmeric mouth spray, undergoing paraffin wax treatments and, ultimately, keeping a positive mindset.
Her determination has now paid off as she is now the proud owner of Recharge Natural Beauty, which opened in the Falkirk Business Hub, on Vicar Street, in early March.
Reflecting on the emotional and physical ordeal she went through, Carolann said: “It was quite scary.
“The medical experts said I might need to prepare for the eventuality that I would not be able to return to beauty therapy at all.
“I was treated in casualty first of all for severe burns over my hands. Then it spread and my feet cracked open and I could not walk or drive. I had to wear special gloves and I was told that I would have to undergo chemotherapy which would reboot my immune system.
“But I rejected that and I chose to go down the holistic route with my background and knowledge in beauty therapy and with the help of the doctors, a dermatologist and a course of steroids.”
Carolann says the support of her husband Richard and daughters Caitlin (15) and Chelsey (12) played a crucial part in her recovery.
She has also thanked her former lecturers and classmates at FVC for helping her back from the brink of despair.