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Sugar Surfing Lesson #19: Setting the record straight

In addition to being a practicing endocrinologist, I also mentor young physicians how to practice pediatric medicine. I’ve had this honor for over a quarter century. One of the 21 core competencies of being a capable pediatrician is appreciating that ambiguity and uncertainty are an integral part of medical practice. Ambiguity is the most difficult concept to get many doctors to appreciate. Years of premedical and medical school training create the hubris that there is an answer somewhere for everything and everyone. This is simply not true.

The truth is that half of what I learned in medical school and residency later turned out to be wrong or misleading. This pattern has not changed over the decades I’ve practiced. We are always learning. Always striving to improve. Never static. Diabetes is a disorder of a highly complex bio-neurological control mechanism whose purposes include ensuring consistent and steady energy delivery to our cells, while at the same time storing and preserving that same energy for future use. It's got lots of moving parts! Our tools to assume control of this incredibly sophisticated system are superficial and primitive at best. Nevertheless these tools, when wielded by an experienced and involved person, are effective enough for most of us to not only survive, but thrive and strive to pursue our dreams. It takes wits and wisdom combined to do this well. Over a half century of living with, teaching and coaching others with diabetes has blessed me with considerable experience and insight, which I never take for granted. I aim to spend the rest of my life sharing as much of it as possible. Yet in social media circles I often read posts which declare attitudes of absolute certainty, sometimes to the point of ridicule, of others doing their best to manage their diabetes or that of their loved ones from day to day. There seems to be little appreciation for the chaos and ambiguity which resides within diabetes self management. Years ago I coined the term Sugar Surfing™ as a metaphor for the process of self exploration and personal growth towards diabetes care mastery. Surfers don’t judge other Surfers, period. Surfers also support other Surfers. Condemning the self care or nutritional choices of others in the name of diabetes coaching is not Sugar Surfing. It disempowers, which is just the opposite. Sugar Surfing is about the process, not the result. It's NOT about straight glycemic trend lines or having the lowest A1C on your block.

My pages have always been intended to be sources of information and empowerment. At times the discussions may be intense, but never should they be disrespectful. That too is not Sugar Surfing.

Dynamic Diabetes Management (aka Sugar Surfing) is now recognized across the globe. Sometimes the original intent the spirit of Surfing gets distorted and misinterpreted. As long as I draw a breath, I will remind the online community of Sugar Surfing’s true goal: empowerment and personal self confidence. If you are not receiving this feeling following support from a diabetes coach or provider, then you are not being taught Sugar Surfing the way I envisioned it and teach at workshops or in person. Accept no substitutes.

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