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Dee Nelson
User Experience Designer, pinball enthusiast, recovering hoarder
User Experience Designer, pinball enthusiast, recovering hoarder


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Okay, I'd like to know who authorized the new #GoogleVoice launch such that doing a primary settings task (creating / editing a greeting) requires you to switch to the "Legacy UI". C'mon, people, really? Years go by with no love for Voice, and the first redesign misses core functionality? smh

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FFS, Google! How about you give me an option to say "Never show me this again" for your f#$king Hangouts Stickers? #NoThanks

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Okay, Google Maps -- WTH is happening with Transit directions in San Jose? No data at all? Happens on my Android phone, too -- on 2 separate Google accounts. The services page shows all systems are okay. This is Bad. Logged a bug using "Send Feedback".

So stoked for 90+ degree weather in the Bay Area today, but even more for MORE RAIN Fri/Sat!

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Google Maps folks, a "scenic route" option would be awesome. Given the research, and Street View imagery, the algorithm would be doable, yes?

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My dear family and friends,

I want to be able to be honest about a major life choice I have made regarding my long term health. I’ve decided, after over 10 years of struggle and over a year of serious consideration, consultation with doctors, psychiatrists, and nutritionists, hard work and soul searching, to have bariatric sleeve surgery.

Some of you may be perplexed, worried, or even seriously question my judgement. I’m not expecting everyone to support or even understand what I am doing, but I’d like for you to be able to do so.  I treasure you all and I hope we can at least agree to disagree.  Maybe this faux Q&A can get us most of the way there.

*What are you doing, exactly?*
On March 4 2014 I will have bariatric sleeve surgery. In short, it is an arthroscopic procedure to reduce my stomach to banana-sized, eliminating the “pouch”, which both reduces my capacity for eating a lot at a time and eliminates the part of the stomach that produces Grellin, a hunger-producing hormone. It is NOT bypass surgery, which is far more drastic and has been shown to have far more risk of complications. After surgery I will have a liquid, then soft diet, until gradually I can eat anything I want (within reason) as long as the portions fit my new stomach size and I get enough protein and water.

*Why are you doing this?*
Primarily for my health.  I’ve got Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea (I need to sleep with the help of a CPAP breathing machine), and a number of joint and back problems.  I’m at a morbidly obese weight (~315) and I have fluctuated from 335 and 260 over the past 10 years but have not been able to push past 260 even with continuous attempts to get healthy.  This is, literally, my last resort to save my own life.

Of course there are other reasons I’m doing this. I’d like to be able to hike and kayak and bike. I’d like to go back to fencing. I’d like to be able to run with my dogs on the beach and be able to keep up. I’d like to be able to fly in a plane without needing to purchase a first class ticket, and I’d like to walk down the aisle of a plane without dirty looks that basically scream out “Don’t you dare sit next to me, you fat pig.”  I’d like to travel without worrying that I won’t be able to scale a staircase to a historic site, or to do things normal people do. There was a volcano trip I couldn’t take because they wouldn’t allow me to climb down the 10 foot ladder to the boat.  I’d like to ride a rollercoaster again. I’d like to sit in a nice chair without worrying it will break. I’d like to fit into normal clothes instead of draping myself with fabric.

*Why cant you just diet and exercise?*
Oh of course, how stupid of me, why didn’t I think of that? :-) Yes, for 10+ years I’ve been trying to lose weight.  I even founded a Weight Watchers chapter where I work.  In truth, I’m feeling fairly ashamed that I’ve been unable in these 10+ years to get to a healthy weight.  I did get down to 260 (from a high of 330) and despite a rigorous program of food tracking, daily exercise, personal training, and more, I hit a wall. I was at 260 for 7 months, working as hard as I could to lose more while still making a living.

You know what happened then? I got discouraged. That happens when you are struggling constantly and you get stuck after 7 months at still being morbidly obese. And then other stuff happened. Hurricane Sandy hit my father which meant frequent travel back to NY with a lot of worry and things I needed to take care of.  A lot of stress at work hit me about the same time. So I slid back into not tracking everyday.  Soon I wasn’t tracking at all. And when that happens with me, the weight goes up. Early 2013 I was idly researching surgery options as a last resort, mid 2013 I started investigating in earnest.

I read through reams of information about the different types of surgery, effectiveness, risks. I started working and learning from the BMI folks at Stanford, as well as the community of pre- and post-patients.  Lots of tests.  For me, with a BMI of 45 and a lot of obesity related health problems, this is the most effective course of action for me.

*So that means you’re weak willed, right? You’re just taking the easy way out?*
Well, let’s put it this way. I was able to quit cigarettes cold turkey and have been tobacco free except for the occasional cigar.  This is infinitely harder -- because the answer to food is not simply “no”. It’s counting, measuring, an integral part of daily life as well as fending off temptation several times a day (by contrast, no one is offering cigarettes to anyone trying to quit, much less multiple times a day). This article (which summarizes this study delves into some of the science of set points and why it’s incredibly difficult for the morbidly obese to lose weight simply through diet and exercise. But if you still believe I’m just a brat with no self control, you’re entitled to your opinion… and I would ask you, respectfully, to keep that to yourself.

*Can I say or do anything to change your mind?*
No. I’ve come to this decision after a lot of hard work, consultation with professionals, looked at hard data, and have weighed all the risks and effects. Your sure fire diet plan, your surgery-gone-wrong horror story will not change my mind. My answer to “Have you considered…?” or “Have you tried..?” is probably yes.


Finally (and if you made it this far I commend your stamina!) I know you may be worried as I take this step. Please try to understand that I am doing this to save my own life, and the risks of my remaining morbidly obese outweigh the risks I’m taking to do this.

Hugs to all,

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#RorschachDoodle I see... two gargoyles holding hands while Mary Poppins, umbrella open, looks on from a distance.
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