George Kolasa's Story
Up until February 2022, I was “living my best life”. I had just taken some time off after 30 years as a luxury fashion corporate executive. My incredible husband Justin and I were splitting our time between NYC and East Hampton and had just brought home a new puppy, Charlie. At 56 years old, I had never felt more blessed, grateful, or inspired.
I WOULD HAVE NEVER BELIEVED MY LIFE WAS ABOUT TO SHIFT FOREVER.
While on a sailing trip to Florida, my health took a rapid decline. We immediately flew back to New York as my balance was off and I felt paralyzed on the left side of my body. I was in the best shape and place I had been in years both physically and mentally, so I knew something was terribly wrong. I was convinced I had Lyme Disease. We rushed to the emergency room. In the ER, they gave me a CAT scan and we sat there waiting for the results.
The doctor came out, asked us to sit down and in the kindest way possible said - “You have a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit”. She showed me the scans - I could not distinguish what was my brain and what was the tumor as it was THAT BIG - to me, it looked like it was my whole brain. Then, the doctor launched into action - “You need to find a surgeon - this tumor needs to be removed immediately”.
I still had not said a word, no reaction since the doctor came out and told me the news. Then, I looked in her eyes and all I remember saying was – “God’s will not mine be done”. I was chosen for this, this is a gift and I am going to find a purpose to use what’s happening at this moment in my life to help others.
Through our remarkable network of friends, we found brilliant and renowned neurosurgeons. They removed the tumor and discovered that it was malignant. I had brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). We spent the next week researching and interviewing oncologists. As soon as we met Dr. Alexandra Miller at Memorial Sloan Kettering, we knew that she was the doctor for us.
It’s been 8 months since my diagnosis, I have completed 6 weeks of radiation and am 7 months into what will be at least a year of chemotherapy treatment. My journey with Glioblastoma is still unfolding. Some days I feel like me, others it’s more difficult to connect the dots. I still can’t believe I have brain cancer. Though, in what should be the darkest of times, I have never been filled with more hope, light and energy as I am surrounded by love.
Today, my focus is to raise awareness and support for brain cancer and other rare cancer communities. Please help me by joining the TEAM GEORGE KOLASA movement at Cycle for Survival!