No one likes to have unique features of their appearance pointed out by others or jeered at, and some suffer more cruelty in the form of bullying than others do. Conjoined twins can find it especially difficult to lead lives without being treated like a spectacle.
Thankfully, with modern medicine, even difficult separation cases involving conjoined twins have proven successful, and each twin can go on to lead a fairly normal life. One of the most notable cases involves Utah twins Kendra and Maliyah Herrin.
According to The Sun, Kendra and Maliyah were born in 2002. They entered into the world with a whole host of issues.
In addition to being conjoined, they had further developmental difficulties. They only had two legs and one liver between the two of them.
But the most challenging aspect of their condition was that they had only a single kidney.
Physicians didn’t expect them to survive more than a single day. They did, though, and thanks to their bravery and the bravery of their parents, they flourished.
That lone kidney necessitated their eventual separation, as experts explained that they wouldn’t survive past age 8 without at least one kidney for each girl.
The girls’ parents also believed that surgical separation offered them the best chance for a social life, but it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
According to a documentary by BBC Three, the separation surgery took place when they were only 4 years old. After the 26-hour procedure during which they were separated, Kendra and Maliyah ended up with one leg apiece, but they gained independence.
“We don’t really remember the pain of the surgery, but we do know that we recovered quickly,” Maliyah told Health. “Almost two weeks after the surgery, we were already jumping around our beds.”
Maliyah ended up with their original kidney, while Kendra’s mom donated her own kidney to her other daughter. When Kendra’s body rejected the organ years later, a donor came to her aid.
Today, the twins navigate with rolling chairs and walkers. The 17-year-old girls also attend high school, and the two say that they haven’t experienced any bullying.
They’ve begun practicing with crutches, too. Their goal? To abandon the walkers and gain more mobility by the end of 2019.
“We’re both so glad that we’re separated,” Kendra said, according to Health. “I think we’re closer now that we’re separated because I think if we were still conjoined we’d fight all the time, because we’d always be together.
“We’re really close still. We have the same friends and we do everything together.”
Those friends are impressed by their example. One named Anabelle said, “They have taught me so much about going through trials and accepting them with grace and bravery.”
“When people first hear our story, they like to ask a lot of questions, but simply we feel like we’re the same as everybody else,” Kendra explained. “We just have a few things that are a little different.”
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