Working in the medical field for most of her
adult life gave Tracy Mobley
a way she
could reach out and help people.Now, despite her
diagnosis of Alzheimer's
still passionate about helping people and has already published one book with another "in the works." The Southwest Missouri Chapter
is very proud to feature the following article about Tracy
, which was published in January by the Marshfield Mail.Tracy
will also appear on KOLR TV in Springfield .
This was one of many wake-up calls for Elkland resident Tracy Mobley
, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease at age 38. Mobley, now 40, worked part-time with her in-laws, who owned Penny Pincher Grocery, Marshfield . She also worked part-time at Cox Medical Center-South as a nurse technician in the ICU-PACU.
After being on the job there for seven years, she
began getting lost in the hallways and forgetting what supplies she
needed to bring back to her
department. Prior to working for Cox, Mobley had worked in neurotrauma at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa , Okla. , and she had 18 years of experience in the medical field before her doctor told her she shouldn't work anymore.
Although saddened by the loss of her
found another way to help people. She
had been keeping a journal of her
daily experiences during the two years it took to reach an official diagnosis, and at the encouragement of the Southwest Missouri Chapter
of the Alzheimer's Association
and Judee Stewart, she
decided to turn it into a book.Last July, "Young Hope," was published.
Journal offers 'Hope'
"It helped me to deal with what was going on with me, because I was able to write down my thoughts and feelings and kind of come to terms with it and accept things," she
said of the journal.Mobley
candid testimony in the book will help others with the disease to cope with it and caregivers or doctors to understand what they go through.
The book was intended to pass along two messages.The first was that Alzheimer's
is not an "old-person's disease." "It can happen at any age to anybody," said Mobley, who is also the secretary of the board for DASNI, or Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International.She
said the average age for those in the organization is 50, but some are in their 40s.Plus, she
has met other non-members who are in their 30s.The youngest Alzheimer's patient is in his
Dealing with denial
The second message is one of helping families to get past denial.Mobley
own mother is still in denial about her
disease, despite her
efforts, but it has been beneficial in other cases.
"There's one chapter that's specifically titled 'Family in Denial,' and that's what it's aimed at," she
said."I've had several responses from other people who said, 'That chapter really helped my family out a lot, helped them to see.' Mobley
is currently waiting on the illustration of her
second book, "I Remember When," a children's book about Alzheimer's
aimed at ages 8 to 12.It was written with the help of Mobley's
10-year-old son, Austin.She
hopes it will help children understand their parents or grandparents with Alzheimer's
, explain their actions, help children to accept it, and give some tips on how to help.
In addition to getting lost at work and on the road, Mobley
began forgetting conversations and agreements with her
didn't recognize their dog one day, and there were a few times she
didn't know her
husband or son.
The first doctors she
saw decided she
had pre-menopausal symptoms, and prescribed anti-depressants and hormones.She
even underwent a hysterectomy, but things did not improve overall. When she suggested she might have Alzheimer's to one doctor, she was told that if she were 60 or 65, that would be her diagnosis, but she wasn't, so it couldn't be that. She
began having seizures while taking four different medications, and it was thought she
might have epilepsy.So she
eventually went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester , Minn. , where tests pointed to the medicines causing her
came home with no official diagnosis for her
memory loss, except the possibility of Alzheimer's
written in her
Like doctors, Mobley
went through a few dementia medications to find the right fit as well.She
turned out to be allergic to the first two she
doctor at that time took her
off the medication altogether, and she
began to regress and wander - setting out on foot from her
in-laws' store on East Jackson Street in Marshfield toward her
home in Elkland one day, and ending up near the Sonic at West Washington and Spur Drive.
Then we found out it wasn't far from being approved here," said Mobley
." ... With the medicine, I'm back to staying at home while he's
Freedom comes at the price of $500 per month, without insurance, for her
pills, and it still doesn't buy her
gets periodic phone calls from her
in-laws and husband to check on her
All medications are labeled and locked in a tool box, since she
mistakenly took her
husband's medicines, plus her
own, one night and ended up in the emergency room.Cleaning supplies, too, are locked away in a shed, after she
accidentally mixed Tidy Bowl and bleach while cleaning her
bathroom, releasing chlorine gas.She
is also not allowed to cook on the stove, and she
rarely drives anymore - never without someone else in the car.
"At first, it was really offensive," said Mobley
."I felt like the things they were doing were very demeaning to me, and there was a lot of hostility there for a while.Then, I soon realized it was all for my best interest, and they weren't doing it to be mean.They had to do it to protect me." Mobley
added that the dangerous situations she
has been in don't scare her
for the sake of her
own well-being, but she
really cares about her
Allen said it is hard for him to see his
wife go through all of this, and he
has learned patience over the years.
"When you go from your spouse being totally functional and sharp and adept, then you watch this, and it's someone who's not that every day," he
...Through everything, Mobley said being an advocate for the Alzheimer's chapter and for DASNI helps her to cope.
"We think that's maybe the purpose of me getting this at such a young age," said Mobley
."I'm in the early stages, and there are a lot of people out there who don't understand what it is we go through, and I'm able to speak for those who can't speak and kind of explain it to their caretakers, so they kind of know what they're going through and can help them out a little more.
"I answer a lot of e-mails daily through the DASNI
organization, and people that I've met just through my book will somehow track me down and contact me when they have questions," she
said."I probably spend two or three hours a day on the computer, just answering e-mails or talking to somebody newly diagnosed who doesn't know where to go from here.
"There are times I get depressed and I want to give up and quit my medicines, and I'm tired of the mess," she