So, you are not particularly big on the idea of sharing a space with someone? Are you going to be a freshman at college and you are haunted by the idea of having to share a room with people? Well, you might want to consider rethinking your reservations about the scenario because there are a lot of ways it could get worse. Have you ever thought the idea of literally living with someone? As in being joined to somebody else morphologically? Well, that’s kind of the case with conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel.
The Hensel Siamese sisters have literally been together all their life. Keeping up with its vision of leaving curious minds in awe, the TLC features shows that are designed to wow and awe in equal measure. Little People Big World, Say Yes to The Dress, My Strange Addiction, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are some of its more popular shows, alongside Abby & Brittany’s Show, which is kind of the icing on the cake.
Abby and Brittany Hensel may be conjoined twins, but they exist as two different personalities. This motion is also somewhat supported by the fact that they possess separate organs. Each of the conjoined twins has an independent heart, spine, stomach, spinal cord and lungs, in what is thought to be a rare condition in medical circles. The uniqueness of their case could well be the reason behind the fame that the conjoined sisters have enjoyed thus far.
We were all infants at some point. Details, like crawling, walking, and even standing soon, became second nature. But it wasn’t all regular and routine for the Hensel sisters. They had to practice coordination in order to get the hang of living with each other. It took considerable effort to do even the most basic things like crawling, walking, or even clapping during their childhood years. It was by no means an easy fit because they had to coordinate with each other to carry out these routine functions. Since each one of the twins has control over one-half of the body they shared, this implies that each one has control over one arm and leg; a situation which makes it possible for such activities like eating and writing to be carried out independently. The trick, however, lies in walking, swimming and running; areas which the conjoined twins have had to perfect their coordination to do them successfully.
At birth, Abby and Brittany’s parents were provided with the option of having the Siamese twins undergo surgery. The doctors were also forthright as they left no detail out in putting the parents in the know as regards the risks involved in carrying out the procedure. In the aftermath of consultations, the loving parents opted against putting the twins’ lives at risk by having them go through the operation. They made the decision to let the twins live their lives together without being separated.
In esoteric medical circles, Abby and Brittany’s condition is referred to as Dicephalic Parapagus., which is a term used to indicate people with separate heads and one body. Their condition is regarded as one of the rarest on the planet when it comes to cases of conjoined twins. Statistically, a case of this nature is obtainable in only one out of 200,000 live births. And it makes for even scarier reading when survival rates are considered. So, it might not be entirely out of place to consider it a miracle that these two have made it thus far in life against the odds.
The struggle to live normal lives has always been a Herculean one from birth for the Hensel sisters. Those early days were the most difficult as they had to get the hang of coordination. One special documentary features their parents confirming how difficult a task it was when both sisters were learning to crawl, as they could not balance their moves and work in tandem with one another initially. It is painful for even a neutral to imagine how difficult it would have been for the kids at the time. As they grew up, however, their movements have somewhat synced as a direct result of years of painstaking practice. They have progressively learnt to coordinate better and even though they may still struggle with certain detail, the time has taught the twins that everything can get better.
Parents and other individuals who have had to work with kids at some point will attest to the fact that each child develops their own unique style of doing certain things and these styles are subject to changes and evolution as time passes during their growth. It is pretty much the same story for Abby and Brittany as recently; the duo is found to be developing their individual styles. A case in point is the idea that each twin is currently developing their own unique walking styles. Abby walks flat-footed whereas, Brittany prefers walking on her toes. It may look like they are limping when viewed from a distance but in actual fact, both individuals are simply walking in their own way.
It might come across as bizarre, but driving is something these two can do with as much aplomb as any normal person. When it comes to driving, the conjoined twins work in perfect harmony such that Abby handles everything on the right while her sister takes care of the left controls. Each of the sisters has an individual driver’s license, one for each. And, the driving tests were taken twice, one time for each person, both times involving writing and driving for each person. The mother of the conjoined twins has also expressed worries over their driving as she wonders if they would ever get pulled over, whether they would get two tickets or one, and if Abby will be the one to get the ticket if they do get one since she is the one with her foot on the gas. She also worries for their safety, though, they have both proven to be good drivers.
TLC approached the girls with the idea of making a documentary based on their lives on their 16th birthday. Both girls thought it a good idea and consented to it. The documentary featured the girls, their daily lives, how they coped with the daily struggles, as well as their plans. The documentary was applauded by a wide viewership as it became an instant hit. The duo soon got their own show which aired for one short season. This created awareness about conjoined twins and the rare condition; that is, dicephalic parapagus.
They may share a collective body, but they differ in their strengths and weaknesses. Their interests are also different but what is fascinating about the whole dynamic is that the strength of one always compensates for the weakness of the other; a feat that also makes them great humans. Brittany is a good writer, while Abby is excellent at math. Both sisters could have secured a college degree online by their differing subject interests, but instead, they opted to join an actual college and graduated with outstanding results. Both sisters majored in education at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, having proved themselves to be more than intellectually sound and adept in spite of challenges posed by their condition.