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Abby & Brittany: Joined at the Hip, and Elsewhere


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#1

CPP83

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

I just caught the promo on TLC last night for the new reality show featuring the famed, conjoined, Hensel twins, and if there is any upcoming reality show that has my full interest, it's this one.

Abby & Brittany

I always wondered if they might do another update on the girls, but I didn't think they would be willing to star in their own reality show, though I do think it's awfully brave of them to open up even more to the public.

I still find it so fascinating how well they are able to function together, each controlling her own side so perfectly to match the other. They even have different hair styles, which is so cute. I love that they haven't allowed their condition to keep them from going to college and traveling either. I don't think this show is going to have to manufactuer any drama with these girls, what they face on a daily basis, I'd wager, beats whatever the best Hollywood studio could dream up.

The show premieres August 28, so maybe it'll combat the horribleness that is "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo".

Edited by TWoP Howard, Aug 9, 2012 @ 12:04 PM.


#2

blubld43

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 12:20 PM

I also saw the previews for this. I've seen two different documentaries on these girls and I'll be waiting with great interest to see the show!
I wonder how these girls handle the unimaginable lives they lead. I know these are TWO girls, but let's face it, they essentially look like a two headed, single person. So I'm very interested to see, for example, the biggest obstacle they face in just every-day life? Have they dated?

Edited by blubld43, Aug 9, 2012 @ 12:25 PM.


#3

McKay

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 12:45 PM

I'm glad to hear that Abby and Britty (guess she's going by Brittany now!) are still doing well, but...really? An entire show based around "how we do stuff as two people in one functional body?"

Oh well. Still better than Honey Boo Boo.

#4

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:05 PM

They seem like very well adjusted, very humorous girls, so I'm kind of looking forward to seeing the show. It can't be worse than the crap TLC has been showing lately!

#5

AbbyCourt

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:20 PM

I consider myself an intelligent person able to wrap my head around just about any idea or concept, but I just can't with these young women. Their lives, their situation is just beyond anything I will ever, EVER be able to fathom. It's all well and good to say they are fun-loving, adjusted girls, but the REALITY, the endless reality of their situation is just mind-boggling to think about. They can't have separate dates, separate jobs, marriages - all things they have expressed a desire for - and that reality is just going to get sadder and sadder as they get older.
I guess I'll watch an episode of the show to see if any of these things are really addressed or if we are in for just a show about how they pedal a bike or drive a car.

#6

PharmGal10

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:34 PM

They can't have separate dates, separate jobs, marriages - all things they have expressed a desire for - and that reality is just going to get sadder and sadder as they get older


Chang and Eng Bunker are famous Siamese twins who went on to have their own homes, own wives, and own children. While I agree that it isn't ideal, Abby and Brittany seem to making the best of the hand they've been dealt. I admire that about them. Just like I say I couldn't imagine being attached to someone 24/7, they probably couldn't imagine not being attached 24/7. I think it helps that the girls have common friends and interests, so they may not desire separate careers or lives. If one wanted to be a surgeon, and the other a personal trainer, I could see where frustration might come in, but they seems to have compromised in a lot of respects. In all likelihood, they came to peace about all they cannot do, and are focusing on what they can do. I read on a gossip board that one of them is engaged, but I am not sure which - maybe it's just a rumor.

I'm very interested in watching their show. I thought they'd never do one because of how private they are.

#7

CPP83

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:34 PM

According to some articles abut the show, they will be dealing with such issues as the girls getting a job, now can you imagine a company realizing they would have to pay both girls for doing the same work, literally, at the same time?

I also think their dating adventures will be addressed as well, though I do not see many positives there for how successful they have been, or will be.

I think the girls, like many conjoined twins who cannot be separated, are able to deal with the reality of their situations better than most of us think we could, because they don't know any better. They've never been apart, so they don't know what it's like to be individually independent, so while they might like to be able to go their own ways in some areas, I don't think there is as much sadness on their part because at the end of the day they will continue to live the only life they've ever known.

#8

neptune42

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:35 PM

I was surprised to see they're doing a show, but I look forward to an update on them.

#9

ShaNaeNae

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

I remember a year or two ago I read online (and, no, I don't believe everything I read online) that one of them was engaged. I think it was Brittany. And, like abbycourt, I can't imagine what it must be like. The weird questions come up in my head as I also think about that movie, "Stuck on You". Like, what does the other one do if one wants to do the do? I also wonder, way down the road if one passes away. Will the other one pass shortly after because they share some organs? And I'm not trying to sound insensitive with these questions, but I think these are all questions we think about and just don't say out loud.

I do remember one of their documentaries, they acted like normal teen girls, came from a great family, supportive parents that treated them just like their other singleton children. They were asked what is different between them and a single (not single, relationship wise, but a singleton...not attached) person and they were right, they don't know what it's like being a single person.

I'm on a budget and don't have TLC, but hopefully I can catch it online somewhere, I'm dying to see this.

pharmgal10, jinx on the engagement rumor.

Edited by ShaNaeNae, Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:40 PM.


#10

PharmGal10

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:37 PM

According to some articles abut the show, they will be dealing with such issues as the girls getting a job, now can you imagine a company realizing they would have to pay both girls for doing the same work, literally, at the same time?


Yeah...I imagine that's a tough one, espcially since they work together, i.e. type as one person would, write as one person would, drive as one person would, etc. even though they are two individuals.

#11

DimeStormRing

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:40 PM

Is it okay to admit that the preview for this series made me feel uncomfortable?

#12

CarolMK

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:45 PM

I have to wonder how they are living now, they do seem very healthy overall, but still...what will happen to them as they get older? I know some have compared them to the Chang and Eng siamese twins, but still, they have completely separate bodies and were only attached by a ft long membrane...and could have probably been separated easily today. I really wonder how many healthy years Abby and Brittany have left, there is only one other conjoined set that I'm aware of , the 2 females who are joined at the head....Dory and Reba? One must sit on a stool and the other carries her? I think those two are in their 40's.

#13

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 1:46 PM

I also wonder, way down the road if one passes away. Will the other one pass shortly after because they share some organs? And I'm not trying to sound insensitive with these questions, but I think these are all questions we think about and just don't say out loud.


They first appeared in LIFE magazine, IIRC. There was a diagram that explained how everything works - and if one would die, the other one certainly would too. There is no way to separate them without killing at least one.

#14

gemini70

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:00 PM

Yes, we have seen co-joined twins on TV before-and yes adult ones. Normally Discovery, TLC, etc. or some other cable network loves to bring the general public this as 'entertainment' and yes, no matter how it is presented, IT IS ENTERTAINMENT... because most of us just stare. I have never seen co-joined twins in person, probably never will. Scientists have all sorts of estimates on co-joined twins-... like 1 in 50,000 to 100,000 births, or 1 in 200,000 births.. or 1 in 400 sets of indentical twins-but, at that rate-you would see more co joined twins. I do not know how they can really know-most die in utero, others that are known, are miscarried.. those carried to term-35% die within 24 hours. Also, over 2/3s are female... (telus.net) unusual ... maybe... considering most of the world were introduced to co-joined twins through brothers Eng and Chang Bunker in the 1800s-the original 'SIANMESE TWINS'. (I always wondered how hard it was to deliver them. How many women died in childbirth trying to deliver co-joined twins before sonograms and C=sections became wide=spread? OUCH!!!)

Anyhoo... they have to be one of the rarest sets of co=joined twins. Or, should I say-Allowed to survive.In other 3rd world countries-they might be considered a curse upon the family, village. who knows, could have happened here.. or has... and probably has.. with babies that are deformed.. Who is going to question an OB who says a baby who has deformities did not make it? These girls are just blessed to have a family so open to making their lives the best that they can be and are not hiding them. Some might question putting them in front of a camera-but, you know-they need it. I remember the other specials. They come from a small town where everyone accepts them, but unless they stay there-it is going to be tough out there. Hopefully, some of this TLC Money is going to the girls.. even with low interest rates, they might need the money in the future-if they are still here when their parents are gone... I wish them luck, and good health. I cannot even imagine what those girls' lives are like. (I am a loner to begin with-having to have another mind with you all the time.. and having to come to a general concensus EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!)

#15

scarlett45

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:11 PM

Double post sorry!

Edited by scarlett45, Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:33 PM.


#16

gemini70

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:12 PM

Eng and Chang-even though they could have been separated without a problem today-and yes, it was only a fiberous cord (I would have taken a knife out of fustration).. they died within hours of each other...Chang died in the night from Pneumonia and Eng found him dead. He refused to have a Dr. separate him-it was only cartildge and then died. Heartbreak? Willing himself? They were both married. These were like the only 2 that COULD be married, unlike Abby and Britt. Dory and Reba-I remember them talking about separation-and the larger one ? said NO!!!! Also, it seemed parts of their brains overlapped. I don't know if it would have been alot easier when they were babies and the bones in the skull were softer. I mean, they are around my age-50 and one has to pick up and put the other on that moving stand. (they are of course identical, but one ended up with something.. forgot what, her growth was severly stunted. I am truely surprised they are still alive. One other set of co joined had died, but forgot who they were-(in this country-not the middle east twins who wanted to be separated).

#17

scarlett45

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:16 PM

I am too surprised that Abby and Brittany are doing a reality show. They seemed so private.

I wish them happiness and to stay healthy as long as possible (of course) but now that they are adults I do wonder how they function with work etc. and yes, they do share a body, they have one set of reproductive organs, one cliforis, one vagina etc. I wonder (and I don't want to sound crass) how one develops a healthy sexuality when you share your sex organs with your sister. Not that it's any of my business and if they don't want to talk about it I understand but there have to be emotions surrounding it that you or I wouldn't experience per say.

#18

gemini70

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:17 PM

ooops my boo.. They were born Lori and Dori Schappell twins of Reading, Pennsylvania .. and are 50. Dori then called herself Reba after Reba McIntyre.. and finally.. George (don't know).. There is a webpage about them, where they live and how they are co-joined. google Lori and Dori Schappell

#19

CPP83

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:21 PM

Not that it's any of my business and if they don't want to talk about it I understand but there have to be emotions surrounding it that you or I wouldn't experience per say.


Without question, for neither one can lay claim to owning her own sexual organs over her sister's, and I am sure they know that. The last time we saw them they were sixteen, going for their driver's licence, but now they're twenty-two, much older, and much more mature I'd think and well aware of all the physical limitations their conjoined position causes them.

#20

neptune42

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:25 PM

Dori Schappelle now identifies as male, which is why Dori went from being Reba to George. George has spina bifida.

#21

scarlett45

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:36 PM

As far as putting them in front of the camera- they are 22 and not impaired intellectually. It's THEIR choice and I don't blame them. People are going to stare regardless, and this may be the most lucrative income stream for them. If it makes their lives easier then it's a good idea.

#22

gemini70

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:42 PM

That's Neptune=couldn't remember that... as for Brittney and Abby=I googled them and some gossip site says that Brittney Hensel is ENGAGED. They did not print any info about when, who, and where and when a supposed wedding is to take place. No, they (celebritydarling.com) went the other direction as in what organs they had-stating from the cocccyx up, they each had their own 'heart', 'arm' 'stomach' etc. but ONE REPRODUCTION ORGAN.. AND let you mind wonder... I do not know if this is true, but if it is, it will be covered in the show. And if it is true, Abbey MUST HAVE AGREED TO IT. Like we all know-they both have a head, but one vagina, one bladder, one birth canal-so if Brittney is engaged, gets married, Abbey is along for the ride. Their lives are private so who knows if they know if both have feeling in the sexual organs or only one and which one. I can't even imagine how it might be or is going to be (if they are able to get pregnant and carry)if pregnancy occurs. But, then, I am not a cojoined twin.

#23

scarlett45

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:59 PM

No it's been confirmed by doctors on their previous shows. They have one set of reproductive organs.

If Brittany is engaged great for her. And I couldn't see her getting married without Abby agreeing. (even if they did not share reproductive organs) They have been working together their whole lives.

gemini70- I don't find it unusual that most conjoined twins are female. Females are genetically stronger, thus male
conjoined twins would be more likely to die in utero or soon after birth. It's the same reason why premature girl infants do far better medically (on average) than male infants that are equally premature.

Abby and Brittany's TYPE of conjoinment (is that a word) is so rare. I'm glad they are able to make a living on it on their own terms. And yes I'd rather watch them than Honey Boo Boo!

Edited by scarlett45, Aug 9, 2012 @ 2:46 PM.


#24

prosperity2day

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 3:18 PM

I remember seeing Abby and Brittany when they were teenagers going to high school. In high school, they seem like happy well adjusted teenagers, despite only having one body to share amongst them, but I couldn't help wondering how would they adjust as they get older to boyfriends...having sex at some point in their lives...what happens when one want their own "space", etc.. I know they have one set of reproductive organs but do they have separate feelings?

I'm glad and was surprised to read they would have their own reality show now that they are adults. This is one reality show I will definitely be watching. I am hoping more in depth information on their condition will be addressed on the show and not just their day to day living as they did with special they did on them as teenagers.

#25

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 4:34 PM

I think they said that they were stared at anywhere they go so this actually might make things better for them. If America gets used to them and sees them as celebrities instead of freaks it could make things easier in a way.

I'll certainly watch. I find the whole thing fascinating.

#26

kccody

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 4:40 PM

I wish them luck, and good health. I cannot even imagine what those girls' lives are like. (I am a loner to begin with-having to have another mind with you all the time.. and having to come to a general concensus EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!)

As do I. Their reality is being together, they know no other life, so even though the thought of being a conjoined twin would drive any of us crazy- that is their "normal". I, too will be watching.

Edited by kccody, Aug 9, 2012 @ 4:41 PM.


#27

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 6:24 PM

Just a few weeks ago I found myself thinking about these two and wondered what they were up to, since it seemed we hadn't heard anything for a long time. I will probably watch at least an episode or two to see how they are doing.

Count me as another one surprised that they are doing a show, but at least they are adults now and can decide for themselves, good for their parents for not doing it when they were minors.

#28

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 6:49 PM

They first appeared in LIFE magazine, IIRC. There was a diagram that explained how everything works - and if one would die, the other one certainly would too. There is no way to separate them without killing at least one.


I'm pretty sure their parents have stated they could have been separated, but the girls didn't want to do it. They also said that since each would have had to have a prosthetic arm and leg they wouldn't have been able to do many of the mobile things they are able to do together.

#29

Neeney

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 7:01 PM

If they'd been separated they'd basically only have half a useless body between them, so I can see why they wouldn't want to be separated. Plus, I really think they'd probably have to have a lot more than a prosthetic arm or leg a piece. They are one from the waist down so it would be a matter of totally reconstructing which ever girl hadn't been chosen to receive those inner parts. And that would be if they lived through surgery.

Edited by Neeney, Aug 9, 2012 @ 7:02 PM.


#30

PharmGal10

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Posted Aug 9, 2012 @ 7:35 PM

I doubt they could be separated. I'm no doctor, but looking at their bodies, their lower backs, hips, and legs are basically one in the sense that their lower half looks like it belongs to one person. They'd pretty much be relegated to a life in a wheelchair if they survived a separation. No way would prosthetics allow them to be as mobile separately as they are together.

Edited by PharmGal10, Aug 9, 2012 @ 7:35 PM.