|Joined: Canadian twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan are joined at the skull and brain and can never be separated|
A pair of conjoined twins who share a brain and a skull have defied doctors' expectations and have learned to walk, talk and even argue with one another. When Tatiana and Krista Hogan, now seven, were born, their parents were warned to expect the worst with the twins not expected to survive the day.
But the children, who live with their family in Vernon, British Columbia, have continued to defy expectations and now enjoy similar lives to their classmates.
|Complex: Their brains are locked together but separate so although they can both control one of the other's limbs, they have independent use of their own arms and legs|
According to their mother Felicia, the girls adore going to school, watching Power Rangers and eating cake.
What's more, she says, they are always happy and bring her and their father, Brendan, such joy, along with their other children Rosa, 11, Christopher, nine, Shayleigh, five.
'Seeing everything I have to go through with them would make your head spin,' said Mrs Hogan. 'It's hard but I wouldn't change it. In my next lifetime, if I could chose this life, I would choose it.' Mr and Mrs Hogan were given the news that their babies were joined at the head and that their futures would be uncertain during Mrs Hogan's pregnancy.
But their mother says abortion 'was not an option'. Instead, the pair have been constantly monitored since birth - and caused marvel among doctors astonished how their shared brain works. Not only do the twins see through one another's eyes, they also share emotions and feel it when the other is tickled. While each controls her own limbs, both twins can control one each of the other's legs and arms. But while they are feel the same things they also have different personalities.
'Over the years Tatiana has become the prominent leader,' says their mother. 'Krista is quieter and can be more in her own shell.' Or as Tatiana puts it: 'I'm the red Power Ranger - Jason! The leader'. Dr Douglas Cochrane a neurosurgeon who has treated the girls as they have grown up admitted:
'They have amazed me - how they are the same but how they are different, how they are dealing with an error of nature to live healthy lives.' Their grandmother Louise McKay said they continue to defy expectations with the fulfilling lives they lead. 'One doctor said they would be lying on their backs all their lives,' said Mrs McKay, 'but they have surpassed everybody's expectations.' The girls have learnt how to run and play together but it has yet to be established whether or not they share thoughts.
|Uncertain: When the twins were born, doctors thought they might not survive the day|
|Tough: Their mother Felicia says looking after them is hard work but she wouldn't have things any other way|
'We tell them, "You two have to spend the rest of your lives together in this world, you need to cooperate and be nice to each other." 'They still have moments where they can fight and get angry and frustrated with each other and those fights can get violent.' The girls will never be able to be separated or live independent lives because of the way their brains are connected.
'People always ask when will they be separated but they won't be,' said Mrs McKay. 'They have too much wiring going to each other for them ever to be separated.' Mrs Hogan said the best way to describe the way their brains are linked is like a zip - there are two separate brains but they way they are fused together means they can never be disconnected.
|Sister act: The pair sometimes fight but are good friends most of the time and have learned to live together|
As a result, the girls have learned how to live together and their parents don't let the fact they are conjoined hold them back. 'We never tell them they can't do something,' says Mr Hogan. 'They have to try it.' Their appearance inevitably leads to people staring and inquisitive children often ask why they are 'stuck together.'
The girls are matter of fact and happy to explain. 'When we were in mummy's tummy we growed together, that's why we are stuck together,' Tatiana said. Mrs Hogan said allowing cameras into their lives for a Channel 5 documentary, due to be screened tonight, helps people see beyond their appearance and see how they are happy, fulfilled little girls. 'I still see people look at them like they are freaks, like they shouldn't be here,' she says. 'People need to see these little girls are amazing for who they are.'
Twin Life Sharing Mind and Body is on Channel 5 Tuesday at 10pm
- Daily Mail