This week’s post is for and about me. It’s my journey.
“Speak Your Piece,” hosted by Mac Watson on KODI in Cody, Wyoming, featured me and “The Call of the Last Frontier” last week. We chatted about the Alaska weather, managing multiple sclerosis while living extremely remote, why I moved there in the first place, and so much more. As YouTubers, Elgin and I set up, and video recorded the show in the studio. A BIG thanks to Elgin Cook for creating this YouTube episode for those who wanted to listen but could not. I sure wish I had video recorded my session with Andrew Rossi on 1/17/22, but you can still listen to my visit on him on “Partyline.” Enjoy!
In 1995, I left Wyoming with three young boys and my husband bound for Nelson Lagoon, Alaska, to begin my teaching career in a tiny Aleut village on the edge of the Bering Sea. Sixteen years later, at the height of my career, studying for a Ph.D. and preparing to take on a school superintendent position, I found myself on medical disability and home alone instead. Devastating as that was for me in the spring of 2011, my MS story did not end there. In some ways, it was just beginning.
Leaving behind my jam-packed, fast-paced world of teaching and school administration, I spent a couple of years recovering from a debilitating series of multiple sclerosis attacks. I began MSsymptoms.me in 2013 to give back, help others, and find purpose in the world again. The blog started as a seed that grew into a writing career. Like so many others who lived in Alaska, I knew I had a story. I discovered my Alaska and MS stories weaved together like threads of fabric. How could they not? Like it or not, MS was along for the ride.
In the first years of my medical disability, multiple sclerosis stopped raising its ugly head at every turn. Constantly relapsing MS became remitting MS, and every year since 2011 has been better. I ask myself, How can this be? all the time. As long as I manage my sleep, stress, heat, and stay healthy, I can expect to show up for whatever commitment I make – something I couldn’t do in 2011.
Today, I have a full schedule again and being my own boss means I can take a break whenever I need one. This blog set me on the course to writing, “The Call of the Last Frontier,” which includes my MS story. I write regularly these days posting on MSsymptoms.me on Wednesdays and an Alaska blog post for Alaska Bush Life on Facebook every Thursday that will also appear on my author page soon – www.MelissaCook.us. Find out how to connect with me on social media – Connect with Melissa.
My storytelling expanded from writing blog posts to a book to creating videos in 2020. Our Wyoming Jeepers YouTube channel is my playtime where we have fun and film the back roads of northern Wyoming. As an author, publisher, and YouTuber, my days are filled with managing books sales, public events, and researching my next book. Life didn’t end for me when I left my career for medical disability; it began.
Feb 26 – Winter Author Fest guest speaker 12:30-1:30 pm “Memoir Writing Techniques” and author table 11 am – 5 pm at the Cody, Wyoming Library – I will post a video of this on Author Melissa Cook YouTube.
Feb 27 – Craig, Alaska – Hillside Bar a logger will be reading the chapter “Function Over Fashion” from “The Call of the Last Frontier” for the Craig’s 100th year celebration
March 5 – Craig, Alaska – TK’s at Craig Inn, Doug Rhodes will be reading the chapter “Function Over Fashion” from “The Call of the Last Frontier” for the Craig’s 100th year celebration
March 12 – Meeteetse, Wyoming Library – Alaska Presentation & book signing 11:00 am -12:30 pm
March 20 – Story, Wyoming Library – Alaska Presentation & book signing 6:00-7:30 pm
April 4 – Worland, Wyoming – Washakie Library – 6:00-7:30 pm Alaska Presentation & book signing
April 5 – Sheridan, Wyoming Library – 2:00-3:30 pm & 6:00-7:30 pm Alaska Presentation & book signing
May – Buffalo, Wyoming Library
June – Feature Article in “Cody Living”
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