She chose to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer but had already frozen embryos prior to the diagnosis.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 24, 2023. It has since been updated.
Surviving cancer can be a life-changing experience, that involves a lot of emotional and physical challenges. It requires courage, perseverance and a strong support system to overcome the disease. While the journey can be difficult, many cancer survivors share stories of hope and resilience and the experience often gives them a newfound appreciation for life. Shelly Battista's story is also one of them. She just gave birth to twins after having her ovaries removed for cancer treatment, reported PEOPLE. According to a press release from Northwestern Medicine in January, Shelly Battista from Arlington Heights, Illinois, received her first diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer at 34 years old.
Today’s #SmileStory - Shelly Batista was diagnosed with breast cancer and the treatment left her with a condition that shut down her ovaries. Luckily they had already extracted embryos and she later welcome twin girls 😊❤️👶👶https://t.co/qYVVwgLoS6— Alex Di Trolio (@alexditrolio) March 22, 2023
Before the diagnosis, Shelly resumed her job in February after the birth of her first daughter Emelia. While breastfeeding her daughter, Emelia, back in 2020, she detected a mass in her breast. Initially, she believed it to be a blocked milk duct, but her concerns increased when it did not subside. Additionally, she also received a diagnosis of a "BRCA1 mutation," which increases the risk of other cancer types. Shelly chose to undergo chemotherapy and a double mastectomy thinking all would go well. However, the chemotherapy resulted in a situation called "ovarian insufficiency." According to Medline Plus, it happens when "a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40." It might also increase the risk of ovarian cancer, so Shelly decided to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes with surgery. In December 2020, Shelly had already frozen eight of her embryos with Northwestern Medicine's Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine before being diagnosed.
Later, in the year 2022, she started attempting to conceive. Despite the first two attempts being unsuccessful, the third attempt was fruitful. Her happiness doubled when during her first ultrasound, it was revealed that she was having two identical girls. Robert Battista, Shelly's husband, told TODAY, "It's like the best celebration of Shelly's cancer journey. It's like, you've beaten cancer, and now here's this extra love you get on top of it."
At Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, on December 9, 2022, precisely two years after being declared cancer-free, Shelly gave birth to Nina and Margot. Shelly said in the press release, "It's a true miracle. We have two babies, exactly two-years cancer-free. My heart is very full." Robert declared the day as "the most important day of the year in our family." He added, "It's like the best celebration of Shelly's cancer journey. It's like, you've beaten cancer, and now here's this extra love you get on top of it."
Shelly expressed her gratitude towards Northwestern Medicine for their constant support during her prolonged path from cancer to the opportunity of having a child. She said, "I'm blessed to have a medical team who let me advocate for my medical needs and the future of my family." She is now a mother of three and their house is filled with "lots of laughs, lots of cries and lots of laundry." She added, "It’s chaotic, but it’s perfect."