5 May

Getting any shut-eye seemed near impossible last night for some reason so I was forced to watch several hours of TV. Instead of opting for the mindless infomercials and reality repeats, I opted for the more educational programming on The Learning Channel. I started watching a documentary called Joined for Life: Abby and Brittany Turn 16. After seeing the video above, I am sure you would agree that their strength and bravery is incredibly inspirational. The twins, from Minnesota, were born in 1990 and are now 19 years old. Unlike many of the other conjoined twin cases we hear about, Abby and Brittany do not share a heart, but rather each have their own heart, which allows them to survive and lead lives that are pretty normal for girls their age.

In this documentary, we watch as both girls pass their driving test (they had to take separate tests). But driving is not as easy a task for Abby and Brittany as it is for most of us. Each of the twins can only feel one half of their body and therefore each one controls one leg and one arm. While driving, Abby controls the pedals, radio, heat, defogger etc. while her sister is in charge of the turn signal and lights. They control the steering wheel together. It’s a tricky game that this courageous duo has to learn with almost everything they do, including everyday tasks that most of us take for granted (yet we never hear either one of them complain). I think we can all learn something from Abigail and Brittany Hensel.

Listening to them, it’s obvious that the girls have two distinct personalities. One is better at math, while the other prefers writing. One is more of a fashionista while the other is more of a tomboy.

Because they don’t offer themselves up for medical research, there is no way of knowing what the future holds for the Hensel girls as far as their health is concerned.

Both girls hope to date, get married, and even have children.

There are undoubtedly many challenges they will face as they grow up … what classes to take in college, what career path to pursue, where to live … let alone, relationships with the opposite sex, physical intimacy and giving birth, if that is even possible).

None of us have a crystal ball, but their optimism is contagious and I wish for only the best for them.


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