My name is John, I’m 38, husband, father to 2, I have multiple sclerosis, and I created the What’s The Matter With Me? podcast to share what I’m going through.

I believe in using the transformative power of creativity to achieve social justice. Joseph Beuys once famously claimed that, “Every man is an artist.” In the words of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, “Wanderer, your footprints are/ the path, and nothing else;/ wanderer, there is no path,/ the path is made by walking.” My work consists of interactions in the public sphere that create new connections in the community.

I have multiple sclerosis and that affects my life and work in many ways. I am the host of What’s The Matter With Me?, a podcast where I share my experiences, challenges and triumphs as a patient with MS. The podcast develops my Disability Consciousness and bridges me with my caregivers, doctors, the disabled community, and community-at-large.

If each person is an artist, and we create the road by walking, then it is up to us to create the world we want to see.

flyer

Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, Season 2, Episode 2 “Cafeteria”

My name is John I’m 39 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 an MS podcast and it’s also about other things I’m not a medical professional and you should not take this for medical advice if you need medical advice ask your healthcare provider
Download the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast on Apple Podcasts and whatsthematterwithme.org

Contacts

Shoutouts to Rocky and Pat and some other people who contacted me to say they were digging this season premiere and looking forward to more. You can contact me using the contact page.

Great new life activity

A very validating new life activity that I have is answering Hoppin Hot Sauce fan mail.  I am so glad to get Hoppin Hot Sauce out in the world.

Take a seat in the cafeteria

I went to John John’s school orientation. It was in the cafeteria. I had to figure out where to sit. One of the teachers couldn’t work a microphone. They passed out a handout that listed the topics they would discuss but no useful information about them.  The principal talked about rules for a long time like the uniform and punctuality. I’m very excited, I’m just traumatized having gone to school already I didn’t consider going back.

Neverending jaw pain story

I increased my dosage of Gabapentin because I was having jaw pain. It made the pain go away but it made me sleep all day. I have reduced my dosage and I feel some pain but very low on the scale like one or two out of 10. I’m not too sleepy or sedated. I’m taking 300 extra milligrams right now. A couple of days ago I was taking 900 extra milligrams. Something like that.  I think I should get some guidance from the nurse.

Keeping track

One of the coolest things about this podcast is that when they listen to old episodes like from a year ago I can gauge how I feel now versus how I felt then and it is useful. I am doing a lot better than I was a year ago.

Recording the voiceless

I’m doing a special on KFJC about the musicologist Ian Brennan called Recording The Voiceless. He travels around the world recording prisoners, albinos, victims of genocide poverty and war. He’s recorded in Vietnam and Cambodia. Rwandan refugees. Albinos who are stigmatized and even killed for the a white color of their skin which is considered to have special properties. The albinos have a tune called “Disability is not a crime”. That’s how I got into it. The way he records voiceless people is kind of similar to the way disabled people aren’t given a voice, and I am concerned with that. I’ll play my interview with Ian on Thursday May 24th from noon to 2 p.m. Pacific Time on kfjc 89.7 FM and kfjc.Org where there will be an archive of it for 2 weeks.

Hoppin Hot Sauce is real

Hoppin Hot Sauce is real and is produced and it’s for sale at hoppinhotsauce.com. I’ll discuss it in more detail in an upcoming episode. If you end up as a customer, maybe you will end up writing me some fan mail.

legislature

Recap

I made 33 episodes in Season 1 and you can find them on Apple podcasts and whatsthematterwithme.org. I listened to them all and it just sounded like some guy complaining but that’s just my thing I guess so I’m going to go forward. I increased my disability Consciousness throughout Season 1 and I intend to continue in Season 2.

Contact

Many people contacted me so I want to give shout-outs to some of them – Jose, Bob, Jersey girl, Black Cat, Nat, Peggy, and Brian.  Thank you for listening and take you for writing me and offering me some support. Thank you. If you want to email me, visit the Contact page.

Season 2 Gratitude

So glad to be here for Season 2, Episodes 1 I feel pretty good let’s go over what’s going on.

Piano Fall

I was walking in the living room and I slipped and hit my face on the corner of the piano.  It was gnarly and it gave me swelling and a black eye.

Vacation in Sacramento

We went to Sacramento and made memories. It was difficult because we were both sick and for the record I hope I will never go on vacation as a sick person again. We ate as a nice little cafe called Juno Cafe it was good. I had spicy pasta with calabrian chiles. They had house baked bread that was very delicious. It’s very good Juno Cafe in Sacramento. That was the most vacation me moment I think. Sacramento is a great place for families. It’s a bad place if you have an allergy. The pharmacist joked with us that Sacramento was planted with all these trees like a conspiracy buy the allergy medication sellers. I thought that was kind of a crazy joke to make in the pharmacy. We stayed on a docked Riverboat called the Delta King which was a lot of fun for the kids. We were both sick so we wanted to sleep all the time. There was a train museum.  Crocker Art Museum was good they had Mexican and Peruvian Artifacts.

We picked Sacramento as a place to go on vacation because it was close. And our vacation was in April so it wasn’t going to be too hot. It was chosen so that maybe we could make it, and we did and I’m glad. It was difficult cuz we were sick but we Soldier through it and we saw a lot of cool stuff and I think the kids really enjoyed themselves. On the ride back we were all tired.

Jaw pain

I have had trigeminal neuralgia since then and varied from intense pain to sleeping all day and it’s been a struggle as usual. It’s wrapping up though I hope. It’s hard to tell but I think it’s on the wane.  Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

Still

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

STAY TUNED FOR SEASON 2

 

sage

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.

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.

Droll

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.

John in the hoppin hot sauce trade show booth

What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Episode 30

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.

Disabled entrepreneur

Episode 30 of the What’s The Matter With Me? podcast revolves around promoting my brand at a trade show as a disabled entrepreneur with MS.

It was really fun and a major step forward for my business. Check out the episode for more.

Young green chives

Welcome to Episode 29 of the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast: “Rituximab Infusion”

In this episode we’ll take a look at:

  • no-tie shoelaces
  • last week’s rituximab infusion (my multiple sclerosis medication)
  • Hoppin Hot Sauce‘s inclusion in the Winter Fancy Food Show
  • Pre-history throwback pilot Episode 3, in which I have a hard time asking for help

NOTE: Most of the early episodes are offline for maintenance, and I’ll put them back as soon as I can get around to it.  Thanks for understanding.

No-Tie Shoelaces

In What’s The Matter With Me? Episode 29, I spoke about moving on from shoe laces, and soon after I recorded it, I was looking for new shoes.

asics gel nimbus 20

I bought Asics Gel Nimbus shoes with no-tie shoelaces and they are working out for me. They are black Asics running shoes with white soles.They look pretty much like regular shoes but the laces are made of elastic so they function more like slip-on shoes. They are kind of stretchy to move in and it takes some getting used to. At first I felt self-conscious wearing them but now I like the way they look. They ran me $160 on Zappos which is pricier than I’m used to but the shoe is a lot easier to use than New Balance 574 Classics which run around $75. They are so much easier to get on and off, and that saves a lot of time and energy, things in short supply.

Rituximab infusion

Last Tuesday I got my infusion of rituximab which is my primary multiple sclerosis medication. My appointment was for 1:30 p.m. but I had to take Benadryl and Solu-Medrol as precursors. Because it was the afternoon and I was taking powerful steroids like Solu-Medrol, I had trouble sleeping that night.

Rituximab is a prophylactic-type medication and I don’t usually feel a difference right away. I think it is helping me but I am continuing to have multiple sclerosis. It is not healing me for sure. It’s hard to tell, maybe it is protecting me from getting worse. That is a hard situation for multiple sclerosis patients like myself, because you can’t tell whether your medication is working or not.

I’m getting older for sure and that is no easy ride. So there are challenges for everyone always across the board.  I have a lot on my plate and I have to stay focused.  I’m glad rituximab infusion isn’t causing me any major problems.

Talk less, act more

winter fancy foods show moscone interior

Remember last episode I told you that my New Year’s resolution was: “Talk less, act more.”  I spoke about wanting to get my brand out there.  Well, things are happening, and fast!  It’s exciting.

Hoppin Hot Sauce will take part in the the Winter Fancy Foods Show as a part of KitchenTown‘s Incubator Alley booth at Moscone Center on Tuesday, January 23. I have been given an opportunity to jump-start my brand, to move from prototypes to orders, and to make my brand real. The time line is very tight and showtime is 8 days away.  It is taking all my time and fatigue is tough to manage.  I am intimidated by my workload and I need support to avoid getting into an emergency. I am reaching out- it is working. Letting people know about the challenge I face is getting them on my side.  I need the discipline to delegate and manage properly.

Baby chives

Baby chives are growing in the winter garden.  I can find peace and hope in the natural cycle of renewal and the good, right energy of growing plants.

Pre-history throwback Episode 3

Episode 3 revolves around having to ask for help, and the complicated feelings that go with that.  I need help, but I don’t want to ask.  It’s cool to hear old episodes, because of slight differences in the way I approach my disability.  Nowadays, I feel a lot less hemming and hawing asking for help.  This podcast has given me the strength to ask for help, and to be comfortable with myself.  That is a good thing.

I had to take the episodes down for maintenance

I had to take all the episodes of the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast down for maintenance.  I’ll be putting the episodes back online ASAP.  I hope to have Episode 28 back up today, and I’ll start from there.  I’m sorry I don’t have what you are looking for.  Stay tuned to What’s The Matter With Me? for more.

 

hand

It’s a New Year and time to move forward

Last episode of What’s The Matter With Me? Episode 27 wasn’t very focused and I could have explained myself and foregrounded what is going on with my Multiple Sclerosis disability more effectively.  The title of this podcast is What’s The Matter With Me? after all. I resolve to run things a little more by-the-book this year.  For this episode, at least.

Cafe Oto

cafe oto street scene

Crowd outside Cafe Oto in Dalston, East London

Last episode,  I reviewed Marshall Allen’s Volcano Quartet CD Volcano Swing, a live performance at the BBC in London, where he was in town for three nights at Cafe Oto.  Listener Chris lives there and wrote in to let me know about the location, in Dalston, East London, and some live shows he had seen there.  It sounds groovy and I hope to check it out myself someday.

Never give up

I can have a bad episode.  A terrible episode.  Ghastly.  But I won’t give up or cede an inch in any direction.

I discussed in Episode 25 as well as Episode 4 that I won’t give up.  The pressure to give in and let go of the rope and drown in my disability is extreme.  Multiple sclerosis is suffocating and pervasive.  I have been dumped and it felt very bad — I bet that anybody having a hard time with something feels the same.

Tapering Medication

I called my neurologist to request help with tapering down Gabapentin, they said I’d get a call-back in 24-48 hours, but they called me back in about an hour.  I was concerned because I had adjusting my own dosage without any guidance, which is bad practice.  The nurse told me that my dosages had been fine, and outlined the boundaries for my pain meds.  My dosage is back to normal, and I am not in pain.

No-tie Shoelaces and shoelace replacements

I’ve bit the bullet and decided to get rid of my laced shoes.  I’ve got some no-tie shoelaces which turn my shoe into slip-ons.  They’re working OK but my shoe feels like it might fall off.  I’m glad to be done with shoelaces because they came untied and I wouldn’t retie them.  I’ve got some shoelace replacements in the mail.  I’ll go over them in an upcoming episode.

Disability Visibility Project

Disability Visibility Project Alice Wong icon

Disabilty Visibility Project Alice Wong icon

Disability Visibility Project is a platform for creating, sharing, and amplifying disabled voices created by disabled activist Alice Wong.  I said in Episode 25 that in 2018 I would bring new voices to the podcast and the Disability Visibility Project is part of that effort.

Interrupting the Uninterruptible

I hosted the Blues Collective with Jack Tar from 10am to 2pm on KFJC yesterday,.  For the first hour, Jack plays the music and runs the mixing board while I sit below in the interview area.  At 11, we switch places, and I run the board and he is below on the mic.  We do it again at noon and at one.

While it was my time to run the board, I played the same song twice.  I put my foot on the wrong place and unplugged whata the engineer told me was the “Uninterruptible Power Supply” — it turned off the CD players, the lights — pretty much the entire station!  I ferlt like I lacked focus or was fatigued, and I messed up the show.

Everybody feels that way sometimes.  “Uninterruptible”?  All I had to do was unplug it.

New Year’s Resolution

Talk less, act more.  This podcast is a bit of both.  Don’t think too hard about it.

Carpenteria californica, bush anemone

Episode 27 “New Blog / Throwback Episode 4: Help”

As my limitations from multiple sclerosis increase, I’ve had to get comfortable asking for assistance.  Asking for and accepting help is one of the secrets of effective people. Or so I’m told.

Winter rolls on. I continue to produce content and work on the site daily.  Being with family and experiencing multiple sclerosis or disability can be difficult to manage, and pressure only increases during the holiday.

Papa’s Got A Brand New Blog

I’ve added a blog to the site, and I discuss my first post, about a disabled woman’s social isolation.  Episode 4, “Help” from the pre-history, chronicles never giving up, in an echo of Episode 25.

I never stop reviewing records

I am reviewing Marshall Allen Volcano Quartet’s CD Volcano Swing. Marshall Allen was part of the Sun Ra Arkestra and this band is a continuation of that.  They were in London in 2011 when a volcano exploded in Iceland, grounding all flights. The band took a three-day residency at Cafe Oto in North London.

They stopped by the BBC Radio to promote the gig and recorded this CD. At the end of the CD there is a live interview and Marshall Allen reveals that he was a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra trapped in Seattle when Mount Saint Helens exploded in 1984.  Pretty awesome, it makes it clear that a musicians life is always about getting that next gig in line.

Episode Synopsis

  • It is cold in the garden and there was light frosting a couple of times this week
  • I’ve got a new blog
  • People in wheelchairs are judged and face cruel realities
  • Marshall Allen Volcano Quartet “Volcano Swing” CD review
  • Throwback Episode 4 “Help”

The holidays are almost over — just New Year’s. Hopefully I’ll hike somewhere good.