Roxanna Arce-Tyndale's smile is a mile wide as she curls a client's hair. You can tell she is overjoyed to be back at work after taking several months off following hip replacement surgery. Moving around her station at BlueBell Salon in Bethesda, MD, she says, "I don't live with constant pain anymore. It's amazing!" In fact, getting back to work has been an important part of Roxanna's recovery process. "Working is part of what gives me purpose, and being able to rejoin the workforce really helped with my recovery, both mentally and physically," she says.
Born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area, Roxanna always knew she wanted to become a hair stylist. "It was my dream ever since I was a little girl," she says. She began taking classes in cosmetology at Edison Career Center while still in high school, and by the time she graduated had her certification to be a licensed cosmetologist. Twenty years later, she has worked at a range of salons across the area.
By 2016, however, she was in constant pain due to being born with a narrow hip. "I didn't know I had this condition, and over the years my hip bone got more and more worn down. At one point, I was in so much pain, I couldn't really walk and was using a cane and sometimes a motorized scooter." By late fall, the pain had become so extreme that she needed to take medical leave.
After a hip replacement in January 2017, followed by several months of recovery, which included intense physical therapy, she returned to BlueBell Salon in May. "I've had other jobs, but this is where I'm happy and what I do best," she says, as she looks around the salon, beaming. She says her favorite part of the job is, "Seeing clients satisfied and happy with what I did, and bringing their vision into reality."
In her spare time, Roxanna, a single mom who lives in Rockville, MD, enjoys relaxing and spending time with her three sons, who range in age from 12 to 26. When asked what advice she would give to others who need to take time off from work to address a medical issue, she says, "Open communication with your employer and co-workers is really important. It makes the whole process so much better."
In the end, Roxanna says her decision to take time off to get better was the right one for her—and her employer. "It was so important to take care of myself to address my medical issue. Doing so has made me a more dedicated worker, mother and all around much happier person," she says.