The week before Thanksgiving break brings excitement to many students, as it marks the beginning of basketball season. For one student, senior Rachel Hould, this season marks a victory before she even stepped on the court. After sitting out her senior year of volleyball, Hould’s doctors said she is healthy enough to play basketball for the Lady Coyotes this season.
At the end of her junior year, Hould found out that she had a chronic illness that has no cure. She described Crohn’s disease as an autoimmune disease that attacked her small illium, which is the connecting segment of the small and large intestine. She said her body creates too many immune cells and proteins that attack her caused these problems, Hould started treatment right away. That treatment plan includes immunosuppressant drug injections to keep her immune system in check, dietary restrictions and generally living a healthy lifestyle.
Hould said when she first started recovering, she had to change her diet drastically.
“I tried to stay away from dairy and red meat, which would put me in a lot of pain,” she said. “Also, part of my treatment was I had to go on an all liquid diet for around five weeks, so that was really fun.”
Luckily, Hould’s diet restrictions have been removed.
“Right now I can pretty much eat whatever I want, which is really good,” said Hould.
Crohn’s disease is an illness Hould is going to have to live with for the rest of her life, but she definitely has a positive attitude and she is not letting it limit her from daily activities, school or playing sports. Hould said this affected her life. This year she wasn’t able to play volleyball; however, she said she was grateful to be able to be a manager and be part of the team.
Recently, Hould said she had a series of blood tests and examinations done to determine whether or not she could play basketball. She was extremely thankful to get permission from her doctor to be able to participate this year.
Raven Olsen, friend of Hould, said she has seen her grow in many ways.
“She overcame her reluctance to tell others how she really feels, and how she has learned it’s okay to ask for help,” said Olsen.
Hould keeps her focus and serves as a role model for those who face challenges.
“It has definitely been hard, and I have learned a lot about mental health,” she said. “I’m just working to be happy and I am definitely in a lot better place than I was, so that’s good!”
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week is observed each year from Dec. 1 through Dec. 7. We celebrate with Rachel, as she starts her senior year of basketball!