Stories about: Diseases & Conditions

Lessons from the Tin Man: Christopher follows his heart

Christopher, who was born with TGA and other heart defects, poses in the rooftop garden at Boston Children's.
PHOTO: SOPHIE FABBRI/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

When it comes to movies, 26-year-old Christopher Smith loves horror films. He counts It FollowsHush and Insidious among his top three. But his favorite movie of all time? The Wizard of Oz.

“I feel pretty connected to the Tin Man,” he says with a laugh.

Like the Tin Man, Smith has spent a lot of time thinking about his heart. Born with a number of complex heart conditions, including transposition of the great arteries (TGA), an atrial septal defect (ASD), a ventricular septal defect (VSD), complete heart block, congestive heart failure and dextrocardia, he’s had multiple surgeries and spent lots of time in the hospital.

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What are the most common symptoms of childhood cancer?

Girl with leukemia visits with doctor
Emma Duffin and Dr. Leslie Lehmann (PHOTO: SAM OGDEN)

Childhood cancers are very rare; in fact, they make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed annually. Therefore, there are not any regular screening tests, unless a child has an increased risk due to genetic predisposition. This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we’re taking a look at some of the common childhood cancer symptoms, and when parents should seek advice from a doctor.

The symptoms of childhood cancer can be difficult to recognize because they often mimic those of typical childhood illnesses, such as the common cold.

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Life-changing second opinion for Jake uncovers rare urological anomaly

Jake plays golf after treatment for anterior urethral valves
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE GRESIS FAMILY

For most kids, going to the doctor ranks right up there with slogging through homework and cleaning their room — they’d rather be doing just about anything else. But 4-year-old Jake Gresis doesn’t mind traveling from his home in Virginia to see Dr. Richard Yu, director of the Robotic Surgery Program in the Department of Urology at Boston Children’s Hospital. “He always looks forward to coming to Boston,” says his mom, Wendy. “He’s well aware of what Dr. Yu has done for him.”

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Recurrent UTIs in boys: When should you worry?

A UTI can be a sign of a greater problem in boys
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

We tend to think of urinary tract infections, or UTIs, as a predominantly female problem — and it’s true that they tend to be much more common in girls. This is largely due to their anatomy, which can make it easier for bacteria — typically E. coli from the colon — to enter the urethra, bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Yet even though they’re much less likely to develop these infections, boys aren’t immune from UTIs.

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