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Shouldering Diabetes

Garland youngster deals with the disease

Ellen Cook

Leader Editor

Nine-year-old Jhett Roche has a lot on his plate.  A busy third grader at Fielding Elementary School, he is also quarterback for his football team.  Away from the classroom and off the field, he works hard on the family ranch, rounding up cattle with his dad, Justin, or helping out his mom, Tiffani, at their home in Garland.

Jhett also has type 1 diabetes.

That means regular and frequent finger pricks to make sure his blood sugars are in the proper range.  It means giving himself insulin shots six or more times a day, just so he can make it through the school day or finish a football game.  It means knowing the contents of everything he eats and weighing the rewards of a “treat” against the discomforts of the needle.

That’s a lot to put on anyone’s shoulders, especially when those shoulders belong to someone so young, but Jhett seems to handles it all with a positive attitude.

“I don’t like it,” he said of his disease, “but I just have to deal with it.”

He’s been doing just that since he was first diagnosed at the age of seven.  Tiffani said bells went off for her when Jhett came home on the last day of school as a first grader.  He told he thought something was wrong.   “He said he had to go to the bathroom numerous times during the day,” she recalled.

Tiffani immediately saw it as a red flag.   Having already dealt with type 1 diabetes in her family – her brother, Isaac, was diagnosed at 19 and her mother, Cindy Fronk, in her 40s – she suspected the worst and took him to the doctor.  His blood sugar levels were well over 600, completely out of the normal 80-150 range.

For more on this story pick up a copy of this week’s Leader.

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