Lainie Rosner – RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience


After losing my mother to breast cancer when I was 20, I grew up expecting to get cancer eventually. It did finally happen, but not in the way I anticipated.

I learned resilience from an early age. My parents were teachers; my grandparents were Holocaust survivors. I was a competitive gymnast surrounded by role models who taught me to be thankful, challenge myself, breathe through stress, and approach life with bravery and determination. I learned the importance of independence, family, and community to celebrate life.

My mom died of breast cancer at 49. I was 20. Because she was diagnosed at 32, I started mammograms in my 20s. I wanted to catch any lumps early when (not if) they came. The decision to go on the pill was a conundrum for me as it increases breast cancer risk. 

I embraced opportunities that came my way in education, sport, dance, art, and adventure. One of my mom’s favorite sayings, “Enjoy life; it’s not a dress rehearsal,” guided me. 

Time, yoga, and counseling helped me address my fear of dying young. I married at 39, and shortly after, we decided to start a family, but things didn’t go as planned. Luckily, we had the resources to explore our options.

We did one round of IVF in 2019 and learned on New Year’s Eve that none of the embryos were euploid. Devastated, we opted to try again, which resulted in one normal embryo. We were thrilled yet terrified that we had only one chance at this. We started preparing my body for the embryo transfer with a cocktail of hormones. An optional uterine receptivity test was offered, which we did for the best chance of success. I received an endometrial cancer diagnosis instead. Not breast or ovarian cancer, which I had always expected, but in my uterus, which was never a concern. In one moment, our world pivoted from creating new life to fear of the worst. Thankfully, the pathology report determined that the cancer was treatable. We shared our news with our circle, and amazingly, my dear friend Cheryl unhesitatingly offered to be our surrogate. The week before the scheduled transfer into Cheryl, we learned that my cancer was now high-grade and surgery was urgent. 

Within a few weeks, medical technology would implant my embryo into my friend to grow into a viable baby and laparoscopically remove my reproductive system so I could live to see that baby grow up. As COVID restrictions eased, I attended Cheryl’s OB-GYN appointments. It was surreal to watch the dancing patterns on the monitor that was my baby inside C and a strange juxtaposition to be at the same hospital where I met with my oncologist.

Lots of forest bathing and exercise helped me breathe through the stress. A supportive family, community, and memories of the strong women I came from helped me cope.

My husband, Cheryl’s husband, and I were all present when our miracle baby girl was born in July 2022.

As for my health, after a complete hysterectomy and radiation, my oncologist has used the word “cured.” I have regular follow-ups, feel great, and am hopeful for the future. I continue to celebrate every moment on this journey and pour my love into my daughter, family, community, the world, and myself. 

The saying “Enjoy life; it’s not a dress rehearsal” informs my resilience. It was one of my mom’s favorites. Finding and creating moments to celebrate helps me live fully and positively RIGHT NOW.

Take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Get outside, breathe fresh air, and celebrate each day as a gift.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.