Judy Wilson is a woman on the go. Between her two passions, world travel and her family, Judy doesn’t have the time or patience for anything to hold her back. She spent her life making (and achieving) incredible goals, like her dreams of snow skiing with each of her grandchildren.

When she was diagnosed with Fuchs’ dystrophy, a disease that ultimately leads to vision loss, in 2005, her life didn’t change. “I wasn’t experiencing vision loss or pain. I just knew that eventually, it would have to be taken care of,” remembers Judy.

Ten years later, Judy’s diagnosis was mentioned once again during a screening for cataracts. “Surely you know that you have Fuchs’,” said her doctor. Judy’s response: “Is that bad?”

Judy knew she had to take this seriously. She received a “nudge from God” when her neighbor recommended a visit to Dr. Jack Parker at Parker Cornea. She still remembers telling Dr. Parker in their first meeting, “I only have two eyes. I’ll go to the Netherlands if it means having this surgery done well!”

As it turns out, that trans-Atlantic trip was not going to be a necessary one. Dr. Parker was a perfect fit for her most important requirement: a doctor with experience. Years of training, thousands of surgeries and careful attention to detail brought Dr. Parker to the top of her list.

Judy’s surgery was uneventful in the best way possible. With no rejection and a halt in the spread of her disease, Judy is relieved and thankful that her surgery is complete.

“I tell people, ‘it’s your duty to do the research and to find the best doctor you can,’” says Judy. She stresses the importance of being confident in your doctor and understanding your disease before you have surgery. She also encourages staying calm, even after hearing the scary and stressful word “surgery.”

Judy is also grateful for her cornea donor and their family. “It’s remarkable what they gave to me – someone they don’t even know – in the hardest time of their lives,” says Judy about her eye donor’s family. “They are the real heroes.”

Today, Judy enjoys the freedom that Dr. Parker and her cornea donor gave her. She enjoys her vision without fear of it declining due to Fuchs’. She spends her time caring for her husband, going on walks and dreaming of taking her youngest grandchild on a snow ski trip, rounding out her mission to enjoy the activity with each of them.

Story adapted from DMEK in Pictures: A Patient’s Guide