About Me

Melissa Cook 2020

My name is Melissa Cook. I am the author of MSsymptoms.me and The Call of the Last Frontier: The True Story of a Woman’s Twenty-Year Alaska Adventure. Both my blog and book detail my life living with multiple sclerosis.

Most people would describe me as a type-A overachiever who loves life and laughs often. I’m known for my smile and determination to be happy. I believe in family, charity, hope, faith, humor, and integrity. People say I am driven, generous, trustworthy, and trusting. And sometimes, I’m even funny. I live my life optimistically, believing each day is a gift and attempting to achieve my full potential, whatever that might be at the time.

I was born in Michigan and spent my childhood in Motown (Detroit area) during the 1970s. Yes, that was an exciting time! In 1979, my mother moved my sister and me to Tucson, Arizona, where I spent middle school and two years of high school running around the desert. I returned to Michigan to finish high school a year early.

I married Elgin Cook at the tender age of nineteen. We had three boys in less than three years. Elgin became a teacher in 1990 and went on to complete a master’s in 1993. We spent our early years in South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, where I finished a degree in composite social science for pre-law. Wyoming was a lawyer-saturated state. Despite my lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer, I returned to college and earned a second bachelor’s degree in secondary education. In 1995, I accepted my first teaching position, and we moved our children to Nelson Lagoon, Alaska.

During my first year of teaching, I began to have symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Little did I know, MS was going to change the course of my career and life. I refused to give up and went on to earn a master’s degree in educational technology, becoming an adjunct instructor for the University of Alaska while working as a full-time teacher. Language and cognitive issues directed me on a new path, and I left the classroom for school administration – believing this would be less stressful and more flexible. Can you hear laughing in the background? In 2007, I earned a second master’s degree in school administration. Just as I was ready to enter the next phase of my career as a superintendent, devastating MS symptoms caused me to take a year off in 2008-09 and ultimately accept medical disability on May 1, 2011.

I began blogging about my MS story on MSsymptoms.me in 2013. In 2014, I became a volunteer EMR for our local ambulance in Thorne Bay, Alaska. By 2016, I was and still am an EMT.

In 2016, we retired and left Alaska, returning to our home in Wyoming. I finished writing my memoir of our Alaska adventures and my MS journey and began filming the Wyoming Jeepers at the end of 2020 (I know, you don’t want to remember that year, me either). Each month we release a video of our Wyoming Jeeping adventures with Dan and Elaine Flores. I’m “The Chatty One” on our YouTube channel. Check us out.

You can read more about my book (advertised in the sidebar & footer) and future writing projects on my author site: www.MelissaCook.us. Or click on my Amazon affiliate links on this website.