What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast

My name is John, I’m 38 years old, husband and father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster, and I have multiple sclerosis. I made this podcast to share what I’m going through.


Episode 33: A Scrap Of A Dad Is Still A Dad


Welcome to the Season Finale

Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, Episode 33: A Scrap Of A Dad Is Still A Dad. It’s the NBD season finale.

My name is John, I’m 38 years old, husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster, and I have multiple sclerosis so I made this podcast to share what I’m going through.  What’s The Matter With Me? is a MS podcast and it’s also about other things.  I am not a medical professional and you should not take this for medical advice. If you need medical advice ask your healthcare provider.

The What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and whatsthematterwithme.org

Recap Episode 32

Last episode, I meditated that social media was like the mirror scene from Enter the Dragon, the final match where Bruce Lee fights Han. They played it during setup at Lollapalooza before Smashing Pumpkins in 1995.  Some listeners wrote me about  the Wahls protocol. We talked about how this episode is the season finale and plans for the future.  There are new plants in the garden.  I am happy to say that my disability conciousness grew a lot in season 1.  Stay tuned for more in season 2..

Listener Mailbag

Listeners wrote in to say the podcast meant a lot to them and I want to give a shout out to those people and express thanks and gratitude. I am extremely happy and immensely gratified to provide support.  Thank you for listening, reaching out, contacting me and in turn supporting me.

I’m overjoyed when listeners write me.  You can contact me using the form on whatsthematterwithme.org.   While you’re there, why not Subscribe to our action network.

In The Handicap Space

Another parent was parked in the handicap space on Monday. I was dropping off John John and Koko.  She said she was late for work. I said that may be true, but this is space is not for convenience, it’s for access.  I told her I was a parent too and that it wasn’t personal. She said again she was late for work. I told her that I thought it was for access not convenience, and that furthermore her car was in my way and creating danger for me because I have to “go off-road” with my two kids.  I have hurt myself very seriously doing the same thing before.  Letting it slide would have been my preference, but when she started justifying her presence in the space, I had to say something.  My kids were watching.

DVD cover

A Scrap of a Dad

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) was directed by Julian Schnabel about Jean-Dominique Bauby, played by Mathieu Almaric, who was the editor of Elle Magazine. He experienced a major stroke that left him with a case of what is often called “shut-in syndrome”. He had no way of communicating, or moving other than blinking his eye. With the help of a speech therapist, he learns to communicate using only blinking, and writes his memoir. The movie uses point of view cinematography after the stroke and scenes from the memoir are shown as flashbacks.

“Bauby assured people of an indestructible human essence inside the destructible human body.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Fear of being shut in

Roger Ebert pointed out that Julian Schnabel has now directed three movies about artist creating in the face of obstacles. Basquiat, about a New York graffiti artist, Before Night Falls about persecuted poet Reynaldo Arenas.

Roger Ebert said he feared shut-in syndrome during his jaw surgery. MS can shut people down – I feel the same way, and this is so terrifying.  I think this is why it had such an effect on me.

jean-dominique on the phone

Phone call

A Scrap Of A Dad

The film affected me most when he spoke about being a father. In one scene, he is on the beach in his wheelchair with his family.  He reflects upon his inability to offer touch to his children. He is sad, but he says that even a scrap of a dad is still a dad. This greatly affected me. It made me cry.

Something I really struggle with is accepting my limitations in the context of fatherhood. Ultimately, a father is a father. All of them have limitations. As children we look up to our parents. One of the most difficult things is to accept that I have limitations and I am a father. Because I want to fight for my child and I’m worried that I won’t be able to – that I will lose the fight and I won’t be able to get what I need to get for John John. As always when you say it out loud it ends up sounding kind of ridiculous. Because I know I can definitely win that fight.  Turning obstacles into strengths is the name of the game around here.

Long-Awaited Upgrade, NBD Season Finale

I’m going to get a new computer. It’s actually being shipped to me right now. I will need to set it up once it gets here. I need to put the old episodes online. Once I get that straight I’m coming back for season 2.  Stay tuned!

  • I’m John Hoppin my email address is John at Hoppin world.com
  • The What’s The Matter with Me? Podcast is available on Apple podcast SoundCloud what’s the matter with me. Orgy and wherever else you find it
  • That’s What’s The Matter With Me? Episode 33 in the books thank you for listening


Episode 32: Enter The Dragon


Enter The Dragon

In this episode, I tell all about the last scene in Enter the Dragon and how it connects to my experience going to Lollapalooza in 1994, the Wahl’s protocol, and the upcoming Season Finale in Episode 33.  Inspired by playing Episode 1 in the last episode, I compare where I am then and now.

Episode 31 Recap

Last episode, Yoko was here. She in Tokyo now, but things continue to happen to me, so let’s talk about them. I fell out of the shower. I saw my MS doctor and we discussed my recovery, and I told him the blanket analogy about how MS is like being trapped under a blanket that can be very heavy at times.  From the never-before-heard ancient history, I played Episode 1, about a visit to the occupational therapist, challenges with hot sauce manufacturing, and the desire to share my disabled experience both good and bad.  I wonder aloud, should I be on disability? I told the blanket analogy to my occupational therapist.  I resolve to try and make something out of crisis.

Enter The 36 Echo Chambers

The echo chamber of social media is like the final scene of the great Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon where he fights Han with all the mirrors.
When I went to Lollapalooza in 1994 before Smashing Pumpkins came out they played this scene.
I went to Lollapalooza see the Beastie Boys, and I thought Parliament was especially memorable because they had a guy dressed as a baby. Bootsy Collins was very far out.  Cypress Hills was there, and Guided By Voices too, but I wasn’t hip enough to be up on that yet.  I was fifteen, and I remember being confused.

Wahl’s Protocol

Listeners wrote in on the website and the Facebook page to ask if I knew about Dr. Terry Wahl’s protocol, which is a dietary approach to fighting multiple sclerosis.
One of the few things that seems to really affect how I am feeling is what I’m eating. Because of this, I try to cook as much as I can myself using minimally processed ingredients. This way I know more about what is going in to my body, so I can easily make changes and modify my approach.

Episode 33 Will Be the Season 1 Finale

The final episode of the season will be the next episode, Episode 33. I’m going to take a pause for a long-overdue upgrade to my computer and audio equipment.  In advance of the Season 2 Premiere, I’m going to put season 1 back online.  I’m already speaking to different people and making efforts to expand my network, so I can bring new voices and perspectives to the podcast in Season 2.  Expanding my vision will increase my podcast’s Disability Consciousness, grow understanding and make our community stronger.

New Growth

Last week the landscaper was here and we planted new plants in the garden, cut some old ones back, and retired some others.  New arrivals include red snapdragon, mexican sage.  Everything is looking great in the garden and getting ready for Spring.

Differences from Then to Now

Listening to last episode, I was struck by how different things were in Episode 1 in comparison to the present time.  In Episode 1, I wonder about getting disability.  I applied for disability and received it in Episode 20, five months later.  I got my ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) brace in episode 1, but it took until Episode 8, two months later, before I could wear it without too much pain.  Even though it still hurts, now I wear it every day.  I’m looking into getting a scooter, so I can increase my range and go farther.  The best difference is that I feel better and more positive.

Stay Tuned

Tune in to Episode 33 for a look back on Season 1 and how we’ll get ready for Season 2.

Episode 31: Doctor Visit

Exam room

Doctor Visit

In this episode my wife’s mom was visiting, I fall out of the shower, I visit the my doctor at the Stanford multiple sclerosis clinic, and play Episode 1 which is a really validating experience, because many of the themes still resonate.

Episode 30 Recap

Last episode, I exhibited at the Winter Fancy Food Show which was a big step forward for my business. Fulfillment, sales and following up arer ongoing. Getting it together was a lot of work and I experienced some cognitive slowness as a result, and in the episode I told a little story about that. I played Episode 2 in which I shared my intention to get better.

Feeling Better

My wife’s mom Yoko just flew back to Tokyo after staying with us here in San Jose for a couple weeks, and while she was here she told me that I looked better. She said that I seemed sharper and more with it and better in my eyes. I guess I did get better, because I feel better, like I am recovering and getting better. Thanks for listening to my podcast, because it helps and supports me.

I Fell

I fell out of the shower covered in soap. I dropped the soapy puff, and some soap got on the ground and flew out of the shower. Somehow, I emerged unscathed.

Doctor Appointment

My doctor said that my current MS medication was probably working OK enough not to change it, that my past medication probably hadn’t worked, which led me to experience greater symptoms and lose functionality. He said he thought that my disease activity could be too microscopic to detect, and that was how nothing showed up on my MRI.

Good To Be Young

He told me that it is good I am young, because I had time to heal. I told him the blanket analogy that I use to understand MS: that it is like being under a blanket with no edges, impossible to escape. Sometimes heavy and other times lighter, you are always under the blanket.

Episode 1

Without further ado, it’s time to go back to the beginning: Episode 1.  Only a few people ever got this, over e-mail.  In this episode, it’s the month of Mayhem at KFJC, and I go to in for an Occupational Therapist Visit, where I share about Hot Sauce R&D and my Workforce Vision.


It’s the month of Mayhem at KFJC, and DJs do special programs all month long. Droll pre-empted my show to do a special about music in odd time signatures.

Occupational Therapist Julie

I went to Stanford to visit the occupational therapist. We talked about my business Hoppin Hot Sauce and R&D, recipe development and production bottlenecks. I told her about my vision of a workforce with disabled, vets, and ex-cons, working together in a supportive environment. I got on a tangent and had to flush the segment down the toilet. I start over again.
I ask Julie if I should be on disability. She showed me how it could help me. I got approved for disability in Episode 20 and I went through further feelings about it in Episode 21. Improbably, I told her the blanket analogy! I told her about how I believe in trying.

Going for it

It was great to hear so many familiar themes: the struggle, endeavoring to try, and cultivating positive healing intentions. I’m very happy with the way things are going.