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Curry's Story

Her Trust in Medical Care Restored 


Curry is a proud and positive mom and wife in her early 40s who lives on Johns Island with her husband, Brendan, and their children, Penny and Mylo. According to Curry, her heart issues began in her childhood in the San Francisco area when her pediatrician discovered a heart murmur.   

“After extensive testing, I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse,” Curry explains. “It was determined that the course of action was annual monitoring, and while it was likely I would go through the majority of life without issue, surgery might be required.” 

Her parents made sure she was closely monitored yet kept her condition from her, allowing her to live a carefree childhood.   

“When I entered young adulthood, I began seeking care on my own,” she notes. “I moved several times and was bounced around from cardiologist to cardiologist. I found a great deal of frustration in the journey.” 

Diverging Diagnoses 

For example, sometimes Curry was told that her mitral valve issue was significant enough that she needed to be cautious in her approach to certain aspects of life. Yet other doctors had no such concern.  

Her trust in medical diagnoses went down further when she had multiple experiences during an annual check-up, whereby she would meet a new doctor, who made a diagnosis without even looking at her chart.   

“They would say that I don’t have it because it was over diagnosed in my age group,” says Curry. “This inconsistency in care led to self-doubt and I questioned the importance of annual care. Despite being symptomatic, I stopped making appointments and was only checked from time to time. I went nearly ten years without oversight.” 

Taking Charge of Her Heart Health 

At the end of 2021, after a difficult bout with COVID-19, Curry’s symptoms became intensified and consistent. She developed some new symptoms, too.   

“Being in my 40s, I was becoming more attuned to my body and learning to advocate for myself,” Curry says. “In May 2022, this led me to a referral to Dr. James Smith at Roper St. Francis. I have never been met with more sincerity and intellectual curiosity. Not only did he affirm my concerns, he was also extremely proactive in wanting to find a solution.”  

Throughout her adult life and her many diverging diagnoses, Curry had become accustomed to not feeling 100% well. A Roper St. Francis physician gave her a better prospect for her health journey and life.   

“Dr. Smith assured me we were going to explore, find an answer, and get me back to optimal health,” Curry recalls. “Anything short of that simply wasn't an option. I have never felt more cared for than I did at Roper St. Francis. I suddenly had a team of medical professionals devoted to my care. Not only was the staff knowledgeable and professional, but their care and concern were genuine.” 

Communication and Rebuilt Trust: The Keys to Her Improved Health 

One aspect of her care at Roper St. Francis was the constant communication she received from the staff – a true team of professionals. They regularly kept her in the loop, checking in with her after their weekly meetings to let her know what was discussed and to clearly define what the next step would be.  

“Kelly Guerrero at the Roper Heart and Vascular Center is an earth angel and fights for each of her patients to receive the highest level of care,” says Curry. “She is responsive, caring, and thorough. Once you are in her orbit, you know nothing will be missed. There were several occasions when Kelly took the initiative to reach out to me to make sure I was following the necessary steps and that other offices were getting back to me promptly. I felt like I truly mattered and that I would not fall through the cracks.”  

After about a year of testing and close monitoring, surgery was deemed necessary. Despite Curry’s years of distrust due to inconsistent care, the team at Roper St. Francis helped her develop confidence in the process. That trust and certainty made the process much more palatable.  

“My surgeon, Dr. Scott Ross, had been a part of my team over the last year, so I had established a relationship with him,” says Curry. “He, too, exceeded my expectations. Dr. Ross was patient, understood the importance of building trust, and was engaged and sincere. His grounded presence and expertise left me feeling confident about what was ahead. Dr. Ross repaired the mitral valve with minimally invasive repair in September of 2023.   

A key part of Curry’s healing has been utilizing the Roper St. Francis Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation Center, a program made possible by generous donors like you. “The rehab center was so important to me, and I witnessed how critical it is to others,” says Curry.  

Curry’s successful surgery, aftercare, and rehab were made possible by her renewed faith in medicine at Roper St. Francis. Though the going was tough at times, Curry knew she had a caring, competent team to support her. They helped her fight for a healthy heart and a full life, surrounded by her husband and children.

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