Deep, clean bill of health

KAPAA — The appointment came the way they usually do for Tasha Fletcher, a skincare specialist at Paradise Beauty Salon and Spa in Kapaa.

Well, the way most appointments are made for males for their first deep-cleansing facial.

The wife called and made it — unbeknownst to the husband.

In fact, Fletcher even has a joke for it.

“We tell them, ‘You can come in the back door, we won’t tell anyone,’” she said of the often nervous, wary males who duck into the salon at their significant other’s behest.

So when Jackie Yasutake booked an appointment for her husband Daryl a few months ago, with Daryl none the wiser, it was par for the course.

As was Daryl’s reaction upon learning what Jackie had signed him up for.

He was tight lipped about it. He didn’t tell a single friend.

“Isn’t this what girls do,” Daryl said he remembered thinking at the time. “I was kinda like, ehhhhh, I’m not sure.”

But like any good husband, the 59-year-old self-employed businessman who works in electrical engineering obliged. And the Kapaa couple headed to their spa day, her excited, him a bit apprehensive.

“Try to be a man about it, you know, not complain,” Daryl said about his mindset going to the spa. “I was hesitant.”

Not complain because it can be painful. Part of the deep cleaning is blackhead extraction, and for those who haven’t kept up on skincare, that first time can be an unwelcoming shock.

But during the hourlong appointment with Daryl, Fletcher noticed something — a small blackhead around the bridge of Daryl’s nose — that raised alarms. She’s been in the business for 10 years and comes across something like that a couple times a year. When it does, she urges the client to get it checked out by a dermatologist. And in almost every case, the client says they will, but they never do.

Still, something told Fletcher that Daryl wasn’t like the others.

A strong, serious man “of few words,” is how she described him. So she got close to his face and made him swear he would check it out.

“I made him promise me,” she said.

And Daryl did. As a precaution, because he didn’t think much of it.

“I kinda had that spot for a while, a year or two years, and I never thought anything about it,” said Daryl, who quit smoking about 12 years ago after puffing for 27 years.

Several weeks later, a dermatologist removed the 1/16 of an inch spot, tested it, and confirmed it was cancerous. A few weeks later, a follow up procedure came back with a clean bill of health.

“I’m pretty happy,” Daryl said.

Even Jackie — the one who sprung the surprise facial on him in the first place — was surprised by her husband’s follow through to get it checked out.

“I was thinking he would blow it off,” she said. “I was so proud of him.”

Not to mention how relieved the couple was they booked with Fletcher, whom they thanked profusely after the fact.

Fletcher said the favorite part of her job is making people feel better. They take health and wellness seriously at the salon run by Fletcher’s mom, Lisa Beth. And if that means detecting cancer early, all the better.

Fletcher estimates that 25 percent of her skincare clients are male, and a bulk of them come to the salon for the first time just the way Daryl did — because their wife made them — hence the salon-wide joke of letting them slip in undetected.

“I just felt like what a blessing, Fletcher, who had a friend succumb to cancer in what started out as a mole on his arm so she knew how serious even the smallest spot could be, said of the recent outcome.” I was just thrilled.”

As for Daryl, he still likes all the things he’s proud to share with his friends — a little fishing, little golf and pigskin on the tube.

But he likes facials, now, too. He’s had a second one since and he and his wife are booked to have another with Fletcher in about a month.

He said his skin feels great, loves the lotions that go with it, and he leaves the place feeling like a million bucks.

“It’s just fantastic,” he said. “It’s just a very relaxing, you just feel so much better. And sometimes you find out you have cancer.”

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