Growing a Support System

Hang on to your hats; a new MRI may be coming our way. This budding technology studied at MedUni Vienna may diagnose multiple sclerosis earlier, allowing patients to begin treatment before the disease progresses. Lead author of the study Eva Niess says, “Some neurochemical changes that we’ve been able to visualize with the new technique occur early in the course of the disease and might not only correlate with disability but also predict further disease progression.” This new MRI identifies “changes at an earlier microscopic or biochemical stage.” Go science!

Melissa Cook at Cody Library’s Painting Class – 1/19/2022

Library. When was the last time you went to your local library? Active library boards with a go-get-um staff are the best. Why would I be talking about libraries on an MS blog, and what do they have to do with multiple sclerosis?

An excellent resource for painters – on Amazon

Leaving the house and participating in community events is healthy for the mind and body. Meeting new people, developing friendships outside of your inner circle, and trying new things to keep your mind active can help grow your support system. New friendships can begin at the library during events and classes, like my watercolor painting lessons. Don’t be shy; ask your classmates if they have time for lunch. I jump right in and join groups heading out the door—the more, the merrier.

Melissa Cook with her mom, Patricia O’Flaherty, in 2014

Watercolor painting lessons landed on my bucket list in 2014 when my mother and I took a cruise from Europe. The Queen Mary offered a two-hour watercolor class for each day while we were at sea, which was enough to get my fingers wet. With a paintbrush in hand, I have a whole class full of potential new friends, and I already know who I want to ask out to lunch. I encourage my readers to grow their support system and make a new friend today – your local library just might be the right place to do that!

Partyline with Andrew Rossi Interviewed Melissa Cook on KODI in Cody, WY 1/17/2022

If my Alaska life interests you, check out Andrew Rossi’s “PARTYLINE” radio talk show on KODI out of Cody, Wyoming. We sat down to a friendly 20-minute chat about my new book, The Call of the Last Frontier, and compared my former lifestyle in bush Alaska to my current life in rural Wyoming. A BIG thank you to Andrew for the interview!

Note: Links going to Amazon are affiliate.


BilliTheCat. MRI. (accessed January 26, 2022).

Medical University of Vienna. “New MRI technique could improve diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis.” ScienceDaily. (accessed January 26, 2022).

Rossi, Andrew. “PARTYLINE.” KODI. Jan 25, 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.