Reunion to Remember: Ophthalmologist who diagnosed infant reconnects with her 10 years later

By STAFF REPORTS,

A decade ago, a 10-month-old girl made her way to Southern Eye Center. Due to the skillful expertise of retina fellowship-trained ophthalmologist Jaime Jiménez, M.D., he delivered harrowing news to baby Zy’Kauyah’s family – she had retinoblastoma and required immediate treatment. Jiménez connected her with an oncologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 Typically, retinoblastoma is suspected when light shines in an eye, such as flash photography, and usually the dark pupil looks white. Other symptoms include eyes that appear to be looking in different directions, redness and swelling of the eye. It is most common in young children but can sometimes present in adults. 

 Fast forward a decade and Consuela Ramsey, Zy’Kauyah’s mother, returned to Southern Eye Center to see Dr. Cameron Griffith. The mission to reconnect Zy’Kauyah with the physician who helped save her life began. She was overjoyed. 

 Sharing a warm embrace and joy after being able to see each other after so many years, Ramsey remembers how she felt both startled and confused by the urgency expressed by Jiménez to get to St. Jude. 

Upon arrival, the oncologist shared had she not come so quickly, Zy’Kauyah may not have survived another month as the cancer was so advanced.

 With admiration, Zy’Kauyah asked how he knew she had cancer. Jiménez explained to her, “You had a mass with a particular appearance and a sonogram pattern making the diagnosis obvious to me. These tumors grow very fast, and they outgrow their blood supply and become calcified. When you have a big mass with a bunch of calcium deposits all over the place, that’s what you had.”

 She underwent chemotherapy, laser therapy, and the tumor is still present in her eye but not active, according to Ramsey. Her oncologist shared with them she is doing much better than many children in her same situation, and Ramsey feels it is a blessing. They return to St. Jude several times a year for check-ups. Other than her visits there, Zy’Kauyah leads an active, normal life for a precocious 10-year-old. She is an honor roll student at Lamar Christian Academy with hopes of becoming an oncologist and a missionary.