Dragon Claw Talks – Melissa Cook

Living with Multiple Sclerosis in Remote Alaska

On December 13, 2022, I presented “Conquering Disability with Attitude” to the Dragon Claw group from Australia and Canada. “Can you imagine coming down with multiple sclerosis as a first-year teacher and mother of 3 young boys in bush Alaska without access to medical practitioners? Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Living with MS in the Last Frontier: truly Melissa is a dragon with resilience!”—Charmaine Jones, Dragon Claw Talks host

During this 25-minute presentation, I shared my adventures in remote Alaska and my multiple sclerosis story with these worldwide warriors. Learn more about my adventurous Alaska life and MS journey in this presentation and my book, The Call of the Last Frontier.

Dragon Claw wishes to “enable better management of self-care, reduce member isolation and provide a set of tools and services that will make a difference.” Originally a group for rheumatoid disease and lupus patients from Australia and Canada, the group opened membership to all patients with autoimmune diseases and now accepts patients worldwide.

Join Dragon Claw for their weekly one-hour meetings over Zoom. Each week the group gathers to hear a guest speaker or support one another by chatting it up for an hour. Register at DragonClaw.net to receive links to the weekly online meetings.

Check out the Dragon Claw website for short informational videos, articles, and ideas for making life a little easier for patients like me and you. Dragon Claw is a non-profit, not a “medically accredited site, and does not purport to provide medical or diagnostic advice.

Melissa Cook's Alaska and Multiple Sclerosis stories
Melissa Cook‘s Alaska and MS Story on Dragon Claw Talks

Hair Loss – Is it Multiple Sclerosis?

Jennifer Digmann Talks about Hair Loss – Is it MS?

Jennifer and Dan Digmann at National MS Society event in 2016
Jennifer & Dan Digmann by Alicia Stepp Photography

I love the title of Jennifer and Dan Digmann’s article, “MS and My Lost Cause: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?” I certainly have experienced my share of hair today and gone tomorrow hair loss moments over the years. In this article, Jennifer relates her hair loss experience and investigation into the possible causes. In addition, she provides a glimpse into her MS warrior life with personal details on her daily rituals with a personal assistant.

My reply to Jennifer’s post said, “1) We lose hair as we get older. We don’t go from a full head of hair in our twenties to Grandma’s thin hair overnight. 2) Stressful events cause my hair to fall out in the following weeks, especially if I have been seriously ill. 3) MS medications caused me to lose hair. 4) I’m told there is a hair growth and loss cycle. About every three years, I shed. Sometimes, hair loss is normal.”

I thought about it and came up with a few more ideas. 5) Hair loss is a sign of thyroid issues. I have Hashimoto’s Disease and know when my thyroid levels are off when my hair shows up in the shower. 6) During my younger years, I always lost hair after receiving hair permanents. 7) Though MS disease-modifying treatments have caused my hair to be thin, I’ve also experienced hair loss with other medications. I recommend checking the side effects of new medications when questioning unusual signs and symptoms; and 8) When you have long hair, a few hairs can turn into a pile in your hand or look scary in the tub.

I encourage my readers to check out Jennifer’s story on MultipleSclerosis.net to learn about the results of her hair loss investigation.

Happy New Year 2023

Image by Marketa Klimesova


Digmann, Dan and Jennifer. “MS and My Lost Cause: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?”. MultipleSclerosis.net. https://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/losing-hair. (accessed 12-26-22)

Klimesova, Marketa. Happy New Year image. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/illustrations/clock-new-year-celebration-happy-4656853/. (accessed 12-29-22)

Stepp, Alicia. Digmann Photo from Culturemap Dallas. https://dallas.culturemap.com/news/society/10-21-16-on-move-luncheon-national-ms-society/. (accessed 12-29-22)

About the Author

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