The Story of Siamese Twins in Josie and Teresa’s Head, 20 Years After Separation Pages all

GUATEMALA CITY, KOMPAS.com – Two brothers, born twins attached to the head until it was thought they would not live more than a year, having just celebrated their 21st birthday, followed by the 20th anniversary of their physical separation operation.

Josie Hull and Teresa Cajas were born together at the head in July 2001.

The two made headlines around the world a year later, when surgeons at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital separated them in a complicated operation in August 2002.

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“In the eyes of the world, both of them are considered challenging, but they have touched so many lives,” Josie’s adoptive mother, Jenny Hull, told People.

This birthday is also a very big milestone for both of them to celebrate.

Born to Wenceslao and Leticia Quiej-Alvarez in a remote Guatemalan village on July 25, 2001, Josie and Teresa are not expected to live to see their first birthday.

Craniopagus twinsSiamese twins coalescing in the head – very rare, occurring in one in every 2.5 million live births.

However, with the help of the nonprofit Healing the Children, the sisters and their birth parents were flown to Los Angeles. There they underwent a 23-hour separation surgery on August 5, 2002.

Dr Mark Urata, who is now chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, was on the team that operated on Josie and Teresa more than two decades ago.

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“That (operation) is very risky,” he told People. According to him, at that time the success rate for similar separation cases was not great.

Despite the success of the operation, Teresa developed deadly meningitis after the twins returned to Guatemala.

In 2003, he spent five months in and out of hospital in a coma. The condition left his body disabled and required round-the-clock medical care.

Josie fared better but suffered from a “grand mal seizure” (a type of seizure that involves loss of consciousness and intense muscle contractions) and has hydrocephalus (an abnormal buildup of fluid deep in the brain).

After being flown by private jet back to the US, their medical needs are mostly covered by insurance.

It’s also what made their parents have to make the heartbreaking decision, for the twins to stay with their American adoptive family, in order to ensure their survival.

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Jenny Hull adopted Josie, while Werner and Florie Cajas adopted Teresa.

The twins live 30 minutes apart in the Los Angeles area. But they still see each other, physical therapy, and special celebrations

Josie uses a walker and is able to attend public schools. Meanwhile, Teresa cannot move or speak and attends a special needs school.

However, despite their differences, they are still close to each other.

“I adore him,” Josie said of her twin sister as reported by Daily Mail.

“He can’t walk or talk, but I can understand him and he can understand me. We communicate through our eyes.”

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In 2016, they celebrated the Quinceañera and the medical miracle that separated them 14 years earlier at a party hosted at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The twins both graduated from their respective high schools in 2020. They also remain close to their birth parents, whom they talk to every Sunday.

“They’re really proud of us both,” Josie said.

Read also: Once Separated, One of the Yemeni Siamese Twins Died After a 15-Hour Operation

Josie is also involved in the nonprofit Once Upon a Room, which her adoptive mother started when she and her sister were 12 years old.

As part of the organization, he flies across the country to decorate hospital rooms for pediatric patients battling a serious illness.

The twins celebrated their 21st birthday with the family last month.

Josie wore a “hot pink” dress for the party, while Theresa wore a pale purple. They were both treated to an ombré cake that matched the color of their respective dresses.

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