Carmen and Lupita Andrade moved to the U.S. from Mexico when they were babies. Doctors told their parents that they would not live past day three after being born.

Now, they are 16 years old, and as the girls have advocated for transgender rights, they are at risk of being deported if President Trump ends the work permit program that has allowed their family to make a life in the United States. Lupita assures that they are dependent on each other and that they could hardly imagine a different life. They have learned to mess with strangers who ask if they’re twins, responding that they’re just “really close cousins.”

Conjoined Twins
Carmen (left) and Lupita Andrade (right). Image credit: Twitter via @hatecatsalot.

Two different people in a shared body

Carmen and Lupita are joined at the pelvis, where their spines come together. Carmen controls the right leg, and Lupita controls the left. Luckily, to drive an automatic car, they need just one leg, which is why Carmen opted to get her driver’s license, so she does not have to “rely so much” on her parents. Lupita sits between her sister and the driver’s door.

When they were younger, they attended physical therapy classes to learn how to work in harmony to perform simple tasks like sitting, standing up, and walking, being able to walk for the first time at age 4.

Conjoined Twins
The twins are joined at the ribcage, and although each of them has their own arms, hearts, and brains, they share the same circulatory and reproductive system. Image credit: Twitter via @hatecatsalot.

Unfortunately, it is not just a matter of who controls what part of the body. Lupita suffers from breathing problems due to her deviated spine, as it puts pressure on her lungs. Eventually, the girls will have to undergo surgery and Lupita may have to use an oxygen tank for the rest of her life.

Their pelvis is also at risk, as it has to sustain the weight of two chests, two pairs of arms, and two heads with a single pair of legs. When choosing a meal, they tend to choose the same dish as they also share a single digestive system.

They do have different personalities. Carmen is the most outspoken of the two, known to be a dedicated student with a quick mind, while Lupita is quiet and has trouble reading. The twins claim that only their friends and family can know the real differences between the two because they are indeed different people. They are also able to give each other privacy to some extent, as they know how to distract themselves from what the other is doing at the moment, although one may wonder what will they do once they start dating other people.

Conjoined Twins
If Carmen catches a cold, it does not mean that Lupita gets sick. However, if Lupita catches a cold, then they may have to go to the hospital because Lupita’s lungs work at a 40 percent capacity. Image credit: TNS.

Carmen and Lupita are seeking a career in agronomics, as they prefer animals to people because they can “know what you’re feeling because they get it off your vibes.”

The case of Abby and Brittany Hensel

Another famous set of conjoined twins is Abigail and Brittany Hensel, born on 1990. They share the same body although each of them has their own separate head. Although their body seems normal from the outside, they actually have two hearts, two stomachs, two spines, four lungs, and two spinal cords.

Each twin controls a half of their body. Both of them can write and eat separately, although more complex activities such as swimming require them to achieve almost perfect synchronization. They reached fame in 2012 after starring on Abby & Brittany; a reality series aired on TLC.

When they were born, Abby and Brittany had a third arm on their necks, attached to a singled-out shoulder blade on their back. It was removed through surgery, as it was a mix of both girls’ missing arms.

At age 12, they underwent surgery to help their breathing, which would be similar to what Carmen and Lupita are expected to go through, although they are currently refusing due to the high risks posed by the surgery.

Similarly, both earned their driver’s license on their own. They graduated in 2012 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in 2012, with majors in education.

Traditionally, conjoined twins do not share many details about their sex lives, like most of us do. Furthermore, each twin controls a part of the body, and if they share the same reproductive organs, then both are going to feel whatever is going on down there.

Some may think that conjoined twins may not need partners just like regular people do. Although one cannot help but wonder what happens when one of the twins desires to get close to someone else, which also forces her twin to share each and every moment with that special person.

Source: Hartford Courant