The post below is a modified edition of my column article for publication May 8, 2014 in The Watford Guide Advocate. ~~~
Do you recall the case of the birth in British Columbia of twin baby girls, Tatiana and Krista Hogan, who were conjoined at the head?
How time flies – that was October 25, 2006. It doesn’t seem possible that the girls will be eight already, in only in six months! Recently (March 13, 2014) CBC’s Doc Zone aired the story of these girls, updating it to the present.
Krista and Tatiana share considerable interconnected and complex neurological tissue, as
well as some circulatory connections. It became apparent that when one is tickled the other twitches and one can taste and feel some of what the other experiences. There seems also to be indications that one can see some of what the other is looking at. Tatiana is smaller than Krista and not as robust.
Because her heart provides blood to part of Krista’s brain it had to work harder, creating other problems for her. Surgery helped overcome that strain and reduced Tatiana’s blood pressure.
This story is a Gaze-Raiser. Consider a number of notable aspects.
Caring for these children is a full-time hands-on job, making it a challenge for the parents to give adequate attention to their other children – two older siblings and one younger. However, everyone pitches in, including their grandmother.
Doc Zone’s documentary clearly showed that these children receive much love and care. In fact, they laugh and smile and actually thrive, despite the enormous physical and emotional challenges associated with their being inseparably joined in an awkward position at the head. After all, there’s no escape from each other, if they have a disagreement. They attend school and their fellow pupils accept them.
The elements of shared brain tissue intrigue the medical personnel working with them. And so, these children provide medical researchers with fascinating case study material which, it is hoped, will help provide greater insight into understanding brain plasticity.
Their mother, Felicia, expressed on CBC’s The Current broadcast (same date) that she hopes the research opportunities her twins’ situation provides will lead to the saving of lives.
Despite present challenges and potential—no, probably inevitable—life-threatening situations down life’s road (especially if one of them becomes seriously ill or dies), these children and their family’s positive attitudes continue to raise not only people’s eyebrows, but their focus as well.
Tatiana and Krista and their family have faced the hurtful negative opinions and stares of the public, and endured the cruel taunts of “Freaks!” from the uncouth and unkind. And some people said that the girls should have been aborted.
But love triumphs:
Love, devotion and caring have proven that these children live lives that have value, and that they experience happiness and demonstrate love. I’m still looking up.
Here’s a pertinent Raise Your Gaze question: Do I live a life that has true value?
Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. . . . And he took the children in His arms, put his hands on them and blessed them”. Another stark challenge from Jesus: “What good will it be for a man [person] if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26; Mark 10:14, 16 NIV.)
Let’s live a life with value, through God’s love, devotion to Him and caring for others.
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing). Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults.
His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. Peter’s current book project comprises a collection of 52 column articles, interspersed at points with brief inspirational statements of encouragement.