What Are Conjoined Twins Abby And Brittany Hensel Doing Today And What Do They Look Like?
Conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel have became household names. After allowing the media into their unique and personal lives for a program on TLC. The twin sisters share the same body but have other organs that differ. They each have a heart, stomach, spins, lungs or spinal cord. The Abby and Brittany were born in Carver County, Minnesota, to Patty, a Registered Nurse, and Mike Hensel, a Carpenter and Landscaper. Their other siblings consist of a younger brother and sister. Abby and Brittany were raised in New Germany, Minnesota, attended Lutheran High School in Mayer, and graduating from Bethel University in St. Paul in 2012.
Conjoined twins are very rare, which is the reason Abby and Brittany’s story has become so popular. The two have been featured in programs on several media outlets and the world is fascinated with these unique and exceptional ladies. Just a few interesting things you may not know about the twins. Each twin controls her half of their body, operating one arm and one leg. As infants, the initial learning of physical functions that required bodily coordination, such as walking, jumping, and balancing, required the cooperation of both. Although they can eat and write separately and simultaneously, activities such as swimming requires total coordinate and alternate actions symmetrically. Other activities as diverse as brushing hair, showering, and driving a vehicle requires each twin to perform individual functions that coordinate with the other.
Twins Abby and Brittany are one of the rarest sets of conjoined twins. Conjoined twins occurs once in every 220,000 births with a survival rate being very low. The fact that these twins are still alive and doing well today is a miracle which we thank God. Abby’s head tilts laterally outward about 6 degrees to the right, while Brittany’s tilts laterally at about 10 degrees to the left, causing her to appear shorter even while seated. Brittany’s leg are nearly two inches shorter than Abby’s; Brittany tends to stand and walk on her tip-toes which has made her calf muscle much larger than Abby’s. The continued growth of Abby’s spine has surgically come to an abrupt stop after Brittany’s growth prematurely stopped. At age 12, they underwent surgery at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare to make corrections to their scoliosis and to extend their chest cavity to prevent difficulties with breathing.
Each twin controls half of their body. Each twin is able to operate one arm and one leg, on their half of the body. They can write on their own, but some activities like running or swimming take the coordination of both. Each twin manages one side of their conjoined body. Their sense of touch is confined to their body half; this shades off at the mid Sagittal plane, such that there is a small overlapping at the mid line. Stomach issues, however, are felt only by the twin on the opposite side. There must be an effectiveness in cooperatively using their limbs when either limbs are required.
When the twins are coordinating their efforts, then they are able to run, jump, walk, dance, and swim normally—for any functions that they learned at the normal speed. Together, they are able to type on a computer keyboard at a normal speed or drive a vehicle. However, their disparate heights (Abby, 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m), is taller and longer of leg than Brittany, 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m)) led to some difficulty in managing a Segway, as shown in their 2012 Reality series. The ladies both have their own license to drive. Abby and Brittany had to take the drivers test twice, once for each of them. When driving Abby controls everything on the right side and Brittany must control everything on the left side.he twins have both successfully passed their driver’s license exams, the written and driving exam. Together they have to control the steering wheel.
In 2008 the twins graduated from high school, and began college at Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minnesota, with a major in education. They had considered pursuing different avenues within that major, but the levels of coursework would have presented a major problem. In 2012 Abby and Brittany graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degrees. The two have said that they don’t really mind being conjoined twins. Abby and Brittany intensely dislikes being stared at or photographed by strangers while going about their private lives. In interviews for the Discovery Channel in 2006, they, then 16, said that they hoped to date, get married, and have children. They also stated that they hoped that by providing some information about themselves, they would be able to lead otherwise fairly normal social lives.
There are many concerns regarding the twins’ continued health. Because as we know, there are only four known conjoined twins who share the same torso and two legs have ever survived into adulthood. Most have congenital heart failure or other organ abnormalities, there are none in this case. The twins were sick at the same time. Brittany has previously had pneumonia but Abby was not affected by the illness at all.
Abby and Brittany were born with an additional arm between the bottom of their necks. The arm was removed leaving a shoulder blade. The twins had said in an interview that they would love to one day be able to date, get married and have children. The two respond differently to coffee. Brittany’s heart rate increases while coffee doesn’t have much of an effect on Abby.The two have let the media into their lives. There have been special series of their story aired on TV about their graduation from Bethel University, their job search, and travels in Europe.
Usually they eat separate meals, but will sometimes eat a single meal for the sake of convenience (e.g., each taking a bite of the same plate). For tasks such as responding to email, they type and respond as one, anticipating each other’s feelings with little verbal communication between them. In such cases as the latter, their choice of grammatical person is to use the first person singular out of habit when they agree. But as their responses differ, they use their names as the third person singular.
Often times they have to make sacrifices to do an activity that the other enjoys. Although the twins have faced many challenges, they are doing incredibly well! The strength for these girls to go after their dreams. Their physical differences would keep some people from wanting to come out of the house, or go after their dreams, but these twins have an amazing determination! An inspiration for all. Can you imagine being in public and people constantly staring at you? Well, we are so glad the twins are comfortable in the skin they are in,enough to go out and live their lives to the fullest!
I love that these girls are living their lives to their greatest potential, but they are also shaping the open minds of our world! The twins have been working to become teachers and are changing the world for the better one student at a time. Abby and Brittany’s story is just another great example of how you can take the worst situation and bring out the beauty in it .
As of 2017, the ladies are teaching at Mounds View elementary school.
Encourage Yourself: I am so inspired by these young ladies, and shall remember them in prayer. Teaching is tougher today than ever before, especially with the way the children are today. The low pay, and senseless acts of violence running rampant. God Bless Abby and Brittany. I think all young people regardless of their race or ethnicity should think twice before deciding to go down the wrong path, skip school, and just be a dead beat, and the word “can’t” should never be a part of their vocabulary. “Abby and Brittany are proof you can do anything.”