• By Dana Sparks

In the Loop: One Awesome Team = Two Amazing Girls

May 31, 2016

Twins Abby and Belle Carlsen outside in a park

This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.
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Ten years ago this month, a 70-member multidisciplinary care team from Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus separated 6-month-old conjoined twins Abby and Isabelle Carlsen. The 12-hour surgery -- and the months of planning, practice, and training that went into it -- captured the attention (not to mention the hearts) of the nation. So many media outlets documented their story that in an interview during the girls' three-year checkup at Mayo, mom Amy Carlsen said it was like having a ready-made "journal" for their family. "I don't remember much of it," she says. "So I actually went back and read and watched everything."

The years since their separation, however, have been filled with more ordinary childhood memories, which Amy and her husband, Jesse, cherish. WCCO-TV recently stopped by the Carlsen's North Dakota home to get a firsthand look at how the girls have adjusted to life since their separation. And by all accounts, they're simply happy, healthy twin sisters who maintain (or, insist on) their own identities. "They don't want to be confused for one another," Jesse Carlsen tells WCCO. "They're their own person." To think otherwise is something the girls say they don't understand. "Every night we look in the mirror in our room, and we're like, 'How do people get us mixed up?'" Abby says.
The rest of Abby and Belle's story.

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