Holly’s joy

Stu­dent de­fies doc­tors to grad­u­ate

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Dou­glas Dickie

A brave stu­dent de­fied doc­tors orders to com­plete her de­gree de­spite un­der­go­ing emer­gency surgery dur­ing her fi­nal year.

Holly Thom­son grad­u­ated from Ed­in­burgh Napier Univer­sity last week with a Bach­e­lor of Mu­sic hon­ours de­gree.

A brave Cam­bus­lang stu­dent de­fied doc­tors orders to com­plete her de­gree de­spite un­der­go­ing emer­gency surgery dur­ing her fi­nal year.

Holly Thom­son, 22, grad­u­ated from Ed­in­burgh Napier Univer­sity last week with a Bach­e­lor of Mu­sic hon­ours de­gree.

A tal­ented flautist, Holly suf­fers from Crohn’s disease which causes in­flam­ma­tion of the di­ges­tive tract.

In Oc­to­ber, Holly was suf­fer­ing from ex­treme ab­dom­i­nal pain and had to be taken to Glas­gow’s Queen El­iz­a­beth Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal for the vi­tal oper­a­tion.

She spent two months re­cov­er­ing and amazed both doc­tors and tu­tors by re­fus­ing to take a year out and com­pleted her course on time.

“It all hap­pened very quickly,” said Holly. “I had been feel­ing bad be­fore it, I was be­ing sick all the time and had ter­ri­ble stom­ach pains.

“I didn’t re­alise how se­ri­ous it was, it all came as a bit of a shock.

“I was pretty much told I had to have the oper­a­tion. I wanted to com­plete my course first but the doc­tors said no. It was pretty se­ri­ous. The doc­tors and sur­geons at the hos­pi­tal were great, just bril­liant.

“I was in about a week but had to re­cover at home for quite a few weeks.

“I ba­si­cally had to do all the work I had missed when I re­turned af­ter the new year. We talked about tak­ing a year out but I didn’t like the thought of com­ing back for another year.”

The big­gest prob­lem Holly faced was phys­i­cally play­ing the in­stru­ment she spe­cialises in.

“I had to re­ally push my­self to catch up,” she says.

“It was re­ally tough just to play the flute. Get­ting back into it was dif­fi­cult be­cause of the breath­ing and the pain in my stom­ach.”

A for­mer pupils at James Ai­ton Pri­mary and Cathkin High, Holly was first di­ag­nosed with Crohn’s five years ago.

De­spite at­tend­ing Napier, Holly de­cided to stay at home so she could re­ceive sup­port from her fam­ily and also re­main close to her con­sul­tant.

That meant she had to travel every day from her home in Mor­ri­son Park, a 100-mile round jour­ney that in­volved two trains and a bus.

She also had to ac­com­mo­date reg­u­lar hos­pi­tal ap­point­ments for treat­ment – re­ceived in­tra­venously over a pe­riod of sev­eral hours – and a string of un­planned hos­pi­tal stays to sta­bilise her con­di­tion.

“It was quite a shock [when I was di­ag­nosed]. It’s not some­thing you ex­pect, I hadn’t even heard of Crohn’s be­fore.

“The trav­el­ling was dif­fi­cult when I was un­well but I’ve had a great time at uni.The last four years have been bril­liant and the univer­sity has been so un­der­stand­ing and sup­port­ive.”

Holly cur­rently tu­tors young flautists in her area and plays in sev­eral groups in­clud­ing Flutes Un­lim­ited, a flute choir who re­hearse in the south side of Glas­gow. She hopes to pur­sue a ca­reer teach­ing mu­sic.

Look­ing back on her grad­u­a­tion, she said: “It was bril­liant. It was great to fi­nally know all the hard work is over.”

An­drea Kuypers, Holly’s flute teacher at Ed­in­burgh Napier, said: “I hon­estly can’t praise her highly enough for what she has achieved. She is a de­ter­mined and spe­cial in­di­vid­ual and is mod­est and quiet about her ill­ness and achieve­ments.

“Even when in hos­pi­tal, she has spent every minute she can study­ing on her lap­top, and I can hon­estly say I have never heard her com­plain.”

De­ter­mined Holly found play­ing her beloved flute es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult

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