Creating My Own Luck in My MS Life

Life is filled with choices. The decisions I make today determine where I am tomorrow. I often tell people I am the luckiest person I know, but then my husband reminds me, “You create your own luck.” What does he mean by this? Here are some examples of how I have created my own luck. I share these examples to help people with multiple sclerosis see how decisions and actions make the “luck” we often see in our lives.

1 – I obtained a trade – I went to college to become a teacher partly because I wanted a benefits package.

RESULT: When multiple sclerosis ended my teaching career early, medical disability and a quality retirement plan provided me with a livable income.

Melissa Cook Overdoing It in the Extraordinary Heat at the Holland, Michigan Tulip Festival 2022

2 – I overdid it at the tulip festival – Forgetting about the heat factor and MS, I wandered all of the tulip fields in Holland, Michigan—and I do mean ALL of the fields. I began to feel the effects of the high humidity, sun, and extreme heat when I was at the far end of a farm on my third day at the festival. I barely made it back to the building unassisted and quickly downed two cold water bottles. As an EMT, I can tell you I was on the verge of heat exhaustion.

RESULT: I had my first major MS relapse in years, and I still feel it a month later.

3 – I show up for my annual physical – The screening blood test revealed pre-diabetes. I tested myself unmercifully for months to see how different foods and activities affected my blood sugar. Then I changed what and when I ate to ensure optimal sugar levels.

RESULT: My blood sugar has been normal for years, so long as I eat a low-carb, high-protein dinner, don’t eat after dinner, and am active when I consume high-carb foods.

4 – I refused to give up my favorite foods to control acid reflux – The doctor prescribed higher doses of medication to control acid reflux symptoms because I refused to give up onions, mint chip ice cream, tomato products, and other yummy foods that made me sick.

RESULT: I found myself hospitalized with severe food poisoning as a side effect of the medication.
2nd RESULT: I gave up ALL of the offending foods, got off the medication, and am symptom-free unless I cheat.

5 – We Jeep with multiple tow ropes and recovery gear – Last weekend, we found ourselves caught between two swollen creeks. Without recovery gear and five or six tow ropes, we would have been stuck in the mountains overnight or may have required rescuing.

RESULT: We rescued ourselves. Stay tuned for the next Wyoming Jeepers show to see the escapade. The day after this video clip, the snowmelt in Wyoming and Montana closed Yellowstone and devastated many surrounding communities.

Wyoming Jeeper Elgin Cook Throws a Rope to Hook Up Tow Ropes for a Swollen River Crossing

6 – I am an award-winning, bestselling author – When I wrote my book, I pushed through the months-long process of passing the manuscript out to beta readers, waiting for their input, using the information to improve the story, and saving money to pay for editing. Then I had the patience to put the manuscript through the entire editing process, followed through with the corrections between rounds, and stuck with it when the real work began after the book was released. I haven’t given up and work hard every day to promote it.

RESULT: The Call of the Last Frontier has been a bestseller on Amazon for many months, has won the Western Horizon Award 2022, and is a finalist for the High Plains Award. The award will be presented on October 8, 2022.

I want to recognize that you can do everything right and still have bad things happen. Likewise, you can do everything wrong and have life fall into place perfectly. But in general, the odds of having positive results in life increase when we take actions that “create our own luck.”

Melissa Cook discusses how life choices creates her own luck in life when managing multiple sclerosis.
Melissa Cook Staying Active Even in the Cold Weather – notice the two hoods – Yellowstone National Park 2021

Increased Mortality & MSMarisa Wexler wrote an article for Multiple Sclerosis News Today called “MS Tied to 75% Increased Risk of Mortality in US Study.”

She noted that “MS patients were more likely to be younger, female, non-Hispanic white, have chronic respiratory disease, have lower physical activity levels, and have reduced body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height).” The study’s results reported, “Over an average follow-up time of 9.4 years…The average age of death was significantly younger for people with MS than for those without (65.2 vs. 67.6 years).”

Can I improve my chances of not becoming a statistic by how I choose to live my life? I’m willing to bet I can create my own luck. I take my DMT (disease-modifying treatment), stay active every day, and maintain a positive attitude (as much as possible). I visit the dentist twice a year, have an annual physical with regular blood work, and go in to see the doctor when I have something unusual going on. I live life to the fullest. It doesn’t prevent bad things from happening to me at times, but it has likely prevented issues I will never know I could have had.


Wexler, Marisa. “MS Tied to 75% Increased Risk of Mortality in US Study.” Multiple Sclerosis News Today. (Accessed June 14, 2022.)

About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.