Twins Kendra and Maliyah Herrin from Salt Lake City, Utah, were conjoined until the age of four, when their parents made the decision for them to have separation surgery. The girls were joined together at the torso and shared an abdomen, pelvis, liver, kidney, large intestine and two legs.
Post-surgery, they were left with one leg each and now, age 17, say they are so thankful to their parents for deciding to go through with the surgery.
The pair have now launched their own YouTube channel to highlight their different personalities.
Before the operation the twins had to learn to get around together, each of them controlling one of the legs.
“I just remember that I would always want to be in control so I would pretty much run over her and she would be on her head,” Kendra told Barcroft TV. “The feeling of being attached to someone else is weird.”
When the girls were born, doctors said they wouldn’t live past 24 hours. When they did survive, their parents Jake and Erin were told the girls wouldn’t survive past eight years.
“They did tell us that we needed to sacrifice one to save the other because of their shared kidney,” Erin said.
“We just decided that that wasn’t what we wanted to do. We just knew and had the faith that whatever was going to happen, was gonna happen.
“It wasn’t always cut and dry that we were going to separate them and that’s all that there was to it. There’s so much that goes into a decision like that. You have to make sure that you are doing the right decision for them. We went to a lot of different doctors, psychologists, anything that I could take them to just to make sure that they were ready and it wouldn’t harm them.”
Before their separation surgery the twins say they hadn’t thought much about the risks.
“We just called it ‘cut apart day’, we didn’t really know what it meant,” Kendra explained. “We were afraid of every surgery though so when we went in for that surgery, I just remember crying.”
“When we got separated Kendra got the kidney and I went on dialysis for nine months until my mum donated her kidney,” Maliyah said. “Ten years after the kidney rejected and I went on dialysis.”
After years of dialysis, Maliyah had a new kidney transplant in 2018.
“I have to take a lot of medicine and I have to drink a lot of water and go to a lot of doctor appointments,” she said.
Both sisters also suffer from scoliosis and have rods in their back as a result. They each have one leg and move around with a combination of walkers, crutches and wheely stools.
“The best thing about only having one leg each is we only have to paint one set of toenails,” Kendra quipped.
Culled from practicalparenting.com.au