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.

Drawing

What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, Episode 8: “Big Week”

My name is John, I’m 38 years old, husband and father of two, radio DJ, podcaster, small business owner and I have MS (Multiple Sc;erosis). I made this podcast to share what I’m going through.

Recap Episode 7: “Bread Moment”

It was very hot, and now it’s rather pleasant. I’ve been having a peaceful week with my wife because when it’s hot I am grouchy. I also told the story of being afraid of Chad Robertson, my bread hero. I baked bread by this guy Chad Robertson. One day I was at a restaurant and I was with somebody who was kind of hooked up and the waiter was like “hey over there is Chad Robertson want to meet him?” And I was like “uh, it’s cool.” I was scared to. I was intimidated, man. Anyway, he makes great bread. It’s a hard story to tell, a time when I didn’t live up to my own standards. Anyway episode 7 check it out.

Big Week

Last Tuesday I got my haircut, my beard shaved, lined up. Elvis at the barbershop did me all right. I was getting ready, I had a big week, so let’s go.

MS Doctor

Later that day I saw my MS doctor for my annual checkup. We reviewed my MRI, and I am in radiological remission, which means nothing is showing up on my MRI, which means I’m not getting new brain lesions or other disease activity that the MRI scan can see.
Then we took a trip through my brain, it was kind of cool. My doctor was like, “Okay let’s look at your MRI. This is how it works top down.” He starts going through the images, wow.
We took a trip through my brain. My doctor noted that my cerebellum is pretty clean. That’s like the top of my green, the big brainy part. But my brain stem has a lot of lesions, and they are old lesions. They affect my ability to walk, swallow, get up and talk actually. All the stuff I know because I experience it but it was interesting to learn that is caused by lesions in my brain stem.

Rituximab

We’ve decided to continue my current treatment which is rituximab, that I take in a 4-Hour infusion every 6 months. We were all shocked to learn I was about six weeks late for my rituximab infusion, and I guess it fell off the table. After the appointment, the staff and I scheduled it I’m going to have an infusion on Friday in a couple days time. Even though we scheduled at the last minute, they hooked me up. Stanford, shout outs.

The studies on rituximab are 18 months long. I haven’t reached that time yet so we’re going to continue my treatment, even though obviously I’m not healed and I’m still experiencing walking swallowing and thinking problems, among other things.
I told my doctor about this podcast, I told him to check it out. He was pretty stoked actually. I told them that I do this for my own therapy, to get better, which is why I do it, it makes me stronger to do so I love sharing. Boom! I’m stronger now.

Then on Wednesday, the next day I got a new ankle-foot orthotic brace which helps me walk, and not sprain my ankle and have balance. It’s good!

AFO: Ankle-foot Orthotic

But it was kind of a mixed bag. I wore the new ankle-foot orthotic, they call it an AFO.

boule

Bread Moment

My name is John, I have MS, I’m 38 years old and I started this podcast to share what I’m going through.

Recap Episode 6

Episode 6: “Overwhelmed” was short but impactful the way short things can often be. Like Mike Tyson said, “Everybody has a plan, until they get hit in the mouth.”
Last episode was basically nothing but a long recap, and then I got distracted telling how I made tomato sauce. I gave up and I just stopped the whole thing after like two and a half minutes.

It’s very hot right now

It’s hot outside. I fell down yesterday in my garden. My thoughts bubble up through my mind like my mind is full of mud, like a primordial ooze and my thoughts bubble up through it. They come very slow, I’m like, “me hungry.” It’s like that.

Uhthoff’s effect

I feel some fatigue from Uhthoff’s effect, which was discovered in the 19th century by a German neurologist who discovered that people with MS feel bad when they’re in the sun. I totally agree with this.

Too much argument

I’ve been having a lot of arguments with my wife. I’m super short-tempered. I argued with my wife on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and today, Wednesday, even though I saw her for only 5 minutes this morning I managed to get upset with her.

Being a salamander

It’s so hot I just don’t move. We call it being a salamander.I try and sit there and do as little as possible.

Josh is baking

My friend Josh is talking to me about baking bread and reallystimulating. I used to make a lot of bread. I’m in the hot sauce business, but I thought about making bread and coffee and I still think about it. I love making bread and growing plants. I’m a gardener, you know it’s all like making bread, growing your family it’s all the same having a garden, pruning a plant. So it is stimulating to hear that Josh has been baking bread.

Dinner with Margarita

One time I went to dinner with my friend Margarita. She was the bartender at Casanova in the Mission on Valencia Street and across the street is this Mexican spot Puerto Alegre. They really had kinda Tex-Mex, it wasn’t high on the list for Mexican places but they served a blended margarita in pitchers and when I was in my twenties, I would just wonder, how many pitchers did I drink?
So I went over there with Margarita, I was in town from New York where I was living in Brooklyn at the time, I was visiting town. I looked up Margarita and we headed over to Puerto Allegre, and Margarita is a Mission bartender, she’s been a bartender at many bars in the mission for a long time, like 20-something years, and she knew everybody. When we went to Puerto Allegre, she knew the waiter, and he said, “Oh hey Chad Robertson is over there you know those Tartine bread guys?” Actually he said, “You know those Tartine Bakery guys? But I knew them as Tartine Bread guys because they had a book about how to make bread that I would obsessively follow in my Brooklyn apartment.

Chicken

It was an amazing moment, Chad Robertson sitting across and Margarita there, and I had one of those moments in my life, where I totally chickened out. I didn’t get up and say, “Oh my goodness Chad Robertson I have been baking your bread every day but I am quite an amateur and I bet you have so much to say, so interesting, I’m so glad to meet you,” – no, I did none of those things, none of that. I stayed in the corner and I was like, “oh cool.”

Tell your hero

It haunts me to this day. So it’s good to say in this podcast. One of the things that’s what’s the matter with me is I regret not meeting Chad Robertson and the other Bakers from Tartine Bakery. It was 2008 at the time and this was very interesting stuff. Nothing happened, because I chickened out.
Don’t do that, is my advice. If your hero is sitting across from you, and somebody asks if you want to meet them, you should say, “Yes, I want to meet them right now.” Tell them how much they mean to you and tell them they’re your hero. I wish I had told Chad Robertson that.

sauce pan on stove

Overwhelmed

In Episode 6 I get overwhelmed and hang up the headphones in the middle of the episode. On the one hand, it’s a pretty terrible episode because of that, but on the other hand, it is good to know that I can feel bad and recover. I certainly don’t feel this way anymore. It’s hard to slur your words on the mic.

Books / Can’t do what your parents do

A listener wrote in to correct me about some books that I touched on in the last episode and I took this opportunity to set the record straight. Tony Robbins wrote Awaken the Giant Within. Dale Carnegie wrote How To Win Friends and Influence People. Steven R. Covey wrote that 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Good information

My Mom had these books and that’s why I avoided them. I was a childish child. They probably contain a lot of good information.

All right?

I feel all right. I don’t have to go to the doctor.

Sauce

I made tomato sauce with 5 tomatoes that I grew. I have a hard time explaining how I made it. It gets hard for me to talk, hard to say “5 of them”. I’m slurring my words. I get frustrated and hang up my headphones. I’m feeling pretty low, after all.

Welcome back to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast for Episode 5: Gallows Humor

In this episode, I have bad reaction to an MRI, suffering fever and headaches for days.  I come through it with the help of my wife.

Recap Ep. 4

Recap – last episode, I tried to wrap my head around the idea of asking for and receiving help.  A listener wrote in to tell me that asking for help increases effectiveness.  We talked about the determination to continue despite the demoralizing nature of the therapy process.

Bad MRI

I had bad reaction to an MRI last week.  I reacted to the contrast dye injection.  I had a headache and fever for a couple days.  It took a lot out of me.  I was bedridden.

Gallows humor

If you ever see me flapping my arms and making fart noises, it means someone close to me has died.  I am inappropriate.

I’ve been feeling very down since the MRI.

New Lemon Flavor

In some sign of normalcy, I cooked Hoppin Hot Sauce, trying out a new Meyer lemon ingredient that my co-packer sent.  The results are promising.

Plants are growing in my garden – see you next time

garden

Welcome to Episode 4 of the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast

In this episode, I continue to think about how to ask for help with the shower safety changes that I need, do some physical therapy, and finally pick up the phone and ask for help.

Recap Ep. 3

Recap – last episode was about asking for help. It was hard to record because I didn’t know that’s what I needed to do before I began recording.  I figured out while I was on talking about it that so many of my great friends and family would be happy to help, and that all I had to do was ask.

7 habits

A listener, my only listener at that point, wrote in to say that accepting help builds bonds.  It’s one of the Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.  That’s a famous book that I avoided because my Mom owned it.  I’m grown up enough to admit that it’s probably got a lot tof good information.

Never quit

I can’t quit, even if I make bad episodes.  Last episode, I said “Dude,” revealing that I am a Californian from the 80s.  It’s OK with me to let you know that.  “Woe is me,” I meant.

Therapy is hard

They ask you to do the things that are hard for you.  I’m putting off using it by working on the podcast.

Phone call

A good resolution to the last episode was that I called my stepfather to talk about what I needed in the shower, and that was enough to get things moving in the right direction.

Parking Lot

Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Episode 3: Help

Recap – last episode we talked about being in control of my emotions.

Episode 3 revolves around having to ask for help to install shower handles so I can get in and out of the shower.

The are a lot of complicated feelings that go with that.  I need help, but I don’t want to ask, and I especially don’t want to ask my Mom for help.

Bsmboo

Welcome to the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Episode 2.

In this episode, I struggle to control my emotions due to damage in my brain stem.

What’s The Matter With Me? is a podcast about multiple sclerosios, and many other things.

Recap – should I be on disability?  My philosophy.

I said I can’t – in violation of my philosophy, which is that I generally can do things.  I can work.  This podcast is about trying, and I’m not afraid to try and succeed and achieve.  I believe that I can achieve regardless of the difficulty.

I have a lot of brain stem disease activity, and it can make staying in control of my emotions difficult. I’ve been having difficulty with my morning routine on the weekends when my family are around. I have been meditating first thing in the morning, with some success.  It provides some perspective that helps me get through the day.

hardscaping

Trying

Without further ado, it’s time to go back to the beginning: Episode 1 of the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, “Trying”.  What’s The Matter With Me? is a podcast about Multiple Sclerosis and many other things.  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 explains how it could help me, and my business..  I tell her the blanket analogy – that MS is a heavy blanket. I tell her about how I believe in trying, and that is why I made this podcast: to try.