What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Episode 10
Purpose — Ep. 9 Recap — John John Sick — Ballgame Fiasco — BBQ — Crying, Pressure — Rose Trimming
What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast Episode 10
Purpose — Ep. 9 Recap — John John Sick — Ballgame Fiasco — BBQ — Crying, Pressure — Rose Trimming
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
But it was kind of a mixed bag. I wore the new ankle-foot orthotic, they call it an AFO.
My name is John, I have MS, I’m 38 years old and I started this podcast to share what I’m going through.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
I feel all right. I don’t have to go to the doctor.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
JOHN HOPPIN: What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast, Episode five. Yeah. What’s The Matter With Me,? episode five, back to business. Not really back to business. I’ll get to that later. Last episode, let’s recap. I talked about I wasn’t going to quit doing this podcast no matter what. I admitted that I was a product of the eighties California life. I was born in… I’m a Californian, Okay? I said, “Dude.” I say, “Dude.” I admitted it, and we talked about therapy’s hard. They make you do things that you can’t really do. That’s why it’s therapy. It’s demoralizing, but you’ve got to do it and it gets easier. That’s the cool part about therapy. I got to admit something. I had a bad reaction to an MRI last week. It was really difficult. If you don’t know MRI machines, it’s a big giant thing that you get your head stuck into this hole with light coming out.
It’s creepy. It’s like a science fiction movie. You stick your head inside this giant machine and it scans your head, and actually they sucked me further into this machine and they scanned my spinal column, and that’s even worse. It’s like a punishing noise concert where you get stuffed in the amplifier. You can’t move for 45 minutes, an hour and a half. You can Google “what does the MRI sound like,” and you can get some idea. I’ve learned to fall asleep during this thing because I think my body shuts down to avoid the experience, and sometimes I snore too much and it messes up the scan, and they have to stop doing it and redo some parts, and it takes longer because I snore so much, because it’s terrible. They inject me with contrast dye to see if there are any bleeding lesions in my brain and brainstem, and to tell whether I’m having disease activity or not, because if there’s stuff happening live, that means I’m undergoing neurological degeneration.
The name of the game, I guess. I had the MRI on Wednesday, and I had a headache that night, and I started to get a fever above a hundred degrees. Got to 102 until Sunday morning, it broke. And it made all my symptoms worse. I fell down a lot, had to lay in bed all day, and I couldn’t move, and I have a really painful zit on my ass. And I stressed out a lot. It was very stressful, and I gave myself a hemorrhoid even, which is rare, which is ironic, because I have a radio show and my DJ name is Hemroid the Leader, but I came up with that name when I was 14 and I didn’t know a thing about a hemorrhoid.
And this is kind of joking, I guess. I get nervous. If you ever see me making fart noise and flapping my arms, you know somebody very close to me has died. I try and distract with stupid sense of humor to cover up how bad I’m feeling. And I couldn’t really do anything this whole week. I couldn’t turn. I was in bed, it was hard for me to sit up, turn over. It was hard, and it made my wife scared, and she cried by herself, man. And that kills me because she doesn’t deserve that kind of thing, but there’s nothing I could do about it
Any way. Yesterday… I’m still recuperating. Yesterday I made hot sauce all by myself. My co-packer sent me a new Meyer lemon juice to try in my recipe. So, I made a batch yesterday. I still haven’t tasted it. I’ll taste it today. Anyway, I wanted to leave you with this idea that citrus plants are growing in my garden, and that’s a really cool thing. I have a Yuzu tree, little one. It’s about five feet tall, but it added about a foot in the past week, and I have a Meyer lemon tree about two feet tall. We’ll see where it goes. So, another episode in the books, maybe episode five. It’s What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast
Recap – last episode we talked about being in control of my emotions.
Episode 3 revolves around asking 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.
JOHN HOPPIN: Back to Business, episode three. Last episode, we talked about stuff in the garden. I got a new kneeling bench. I told the story about falling. I talked about inability to control my emotions. On the weekend, and an update on that; I had some success by meditating, setting the meditation right off. That was my therapist’s idea. He was like, “Meditate.” I did it, and it helped. It helped me deal with the challenges I faced throughout the day, really.
More challenges is: mom. I don’t know how your mom is; my mom is my mom. I’m trying to install handles in the upstairs bathroom. She has a house in Santa Rosa, and I’m trying to install handles in the upstairs bathroom, and a kind of leverage bar that will help me get in and out of the shower, in Santa Rosa, and it’s kind of hard dealing with my mom; trying to ask for something and not wanting to be a pain, but needed some help and then having conflicting feelings about that, really. How do I feel? I got to ask my mom, “I need to install this stuff,” and I can’t even install it. Because I can’t work a drill. So instead of just installing my own handles, I have to ask my mom, really, to ask my stepfather, my child’s grandfather to install handles. The bar thing, luckily, is a suction thing. It works with tension. Tension, they call it. Not suction. It’s probably easier.
So I have to ask my mom, “Mom, can you ask,” my stepfather, “To install these handles.” Anyway, asking your mom for help to install accessibility stuff, really, it’s asking my stepfather to do it; it’s kind of humiliating, dude. I just want to do it myself. All I have to do is put two small handles, and I can’t work the screwdriver. Sucks.
But anyway, shout out to my stepfather, Dave, who probably is going to end up doing that, and will do that for me. He’s got my back. So that is something to be so thankful for. You know what I mean? He’ll do it. I need it. He’ll help me out. Or, I’ll have to ask one of my friends to do it, which would probably be better than my stepfather, but I’m embarrassed to do that. I’m embarrassed to ask my friends, and tell them, “Hey, I can’t work a screwdriver.” Because I could probably ask one of my friends and another. I could probably ask any of them to do it, but I’m to embarrassed.
Man, thinking about … I was trying to think about like, “Who could I ask to do it?” And then I realized I could ask almost any dude I know to give me a hand, and they would. Shoutouts to my bros. That is a good feeling, I guess.
So I have my radio show tomorrow. This guy, Ashwin Batish, is a sitar boogie guy. Google Ashwin Batish Bombay Boogie, and there’s a radio Montreal, french radio interviewer, and he plays live, and it’s rad. It’s in 1987 in Montreal, I think. Check it out. I ordered a thing called a … But he’s not playing on my show. Oh, sad. That’s a sad turnaround on that. Ashwin Batish ends up not playing on my show, it got canceled yesterday because of a family emergency he has. So god bless, I wish him well.
I ordered a TheraBand FlexBar. It’s a yellow spongy thing. And people use it for tennis elbow rehab. It helps you flex your arm and your hand in certain ways, and grip and turn. And it also massage. So my occupational therapist, Julie, who I kept calling Dr. Julie, I think, in the last couple of episodes, and she is not a doctor. And we always laugh about that, so I’m taking her down a peg right here on the air. Occupational therapist, Julie, not a doctor.
Although we discussed that maybe, I think she would be a great doctor. I ordered a rack for my coffee roaster, and also for my kids’ shoes and Naomi’s shoes and stuff, because they need more room. I wear the same shoes, because I have a brace I wear almost every day. Sometimes I change them out. I’m going to go to my friend’s wedding in July, and I’m going to wear actual shoes. Not dress shoes. They’re not formal shoes, because it’s a country wedding and I’m wearing a straw hat.
But anyhow, I bet I will look fly. I bet everyone will. I bet, especially, my friends who are getting married. They’re fly types.
Episode three in the books.
What’s The Matter With Me? is a podcast about Multiple Sclerosis and many other things. 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.
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.
JOHN HOPPIN: What’s the Matter With Me? Episode one. What is the matter with me? My name is John. I’m disabled. I’m developing my disability consciousness, so I made this podcast. I have multiple sclerosis, and I walk with a cane, and I do all this stuff. And so I made this podcast to say I have multiple sclerosis, check out my podcast. Man, what’s the matter with me? They always say Ronald Reagan was a great speaker because he opened with a joke, and so I … I mean, I wish I had a joke to tell about that. Ronald Reagan, he was President twice.
What’s the matter with me today? I’m going to go see Dr. Julie at Stanford. And after that at 7:30 is the radio station meeting, but I’m not going to be on the radio tomorrow because it is the month of mayhem, and my compatriot Droll is going to be on the air tomorrow from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Check it out at KFJC.org.
So anyway, Dr. Julie, she is an occupational therapist. We talk a lot about … I run a hot sauce business, and we talk … I’m trying to manufacture my hot sauce, so I can sell it all up and down the west coast. But right now, I just make it with my mom and very small batches. And I have a couple clients, and people like it; but I need to make a lot more of it in order to really make a go at it. I’m having trouble, because in the recipe, I use Meyer lemons, and those are kind of a special type of lemon. It has a certain taste, though. Makes the hot sauce taste good. So that’s why I use it. And then there’s also a certain type of chile, where I use a special kind. This guy imports it in Texas. I buy it from him. It’s whole. In order to make a big batch, I need a big amount of ground powder.
What’s the matter with me? So, episode one. We are getting to the harder things. I started this podcast to kind of share what I’m going through, which is that I have multiple sclerosis and it’s brought me to be a disabled person. I’ve been singled out for the fact I’m disabled. I’ve had lots of people come up to me and say things to me, and some of them are great, and some of them aren’t so great. And I have all kinds of experiences, same thing: some are great and some aren’t so great. So I started this podcast to just share that.
And so today, I’m going to go see Dr. Julie at Stanford. She’s an occupational therapist, and we’ll talk about what I need to get out of life. What I want to ask her today is, should I be on disability? This is something certain people say I should be on … I’m disabled. I can’t work. Some people say I shouldn’t be on disability, because if I can avoid it … But the thing is, it’s like working my wife to the bone. She has all the pressure. I need to come up with some cash.
I have this business, but like I just shared with you, it’s in the R&D mode. It’s going to take some time. At this point, it’s just barely cracking four figures. It’s going to … It needs to be up there. I want to sell … My goal is to sell one million cases a year, and my staff is going to consist of people who’ve been through the prison system, veterans who are suffering, and other disabled people like me. That’s who’s going to be a big component of my workforce that’s going to be doing this project with me. I want my disabled people with me, because I believe in doing things rather than not. I guess that’s the simplest distillation.
As a disabled person, being disabled is like wearing a blanket. I was telling my wife; it’s like a heavy blanket with no edges. You can’t get out of the blanket. And in multiple sclerosis; I think it’s probably similar in other things, the blanket just gets heavier and heavier. So you could lay there under this heavy blanket, or you could try and make something, and try and get it out of the blanket. You can’t really ever get out of the blanket and really see it out of the blanket, but you can work and do something. That’s what I believe.
So that’s why I made this podcast. That’s what’s the matter with me, and episode one.