Survivor Stories

Victoria Simiola

2014, I noticed a faint pink line down the center of the nail my right ring finger. Numerous doctors’ appt and a plethora of biopsies later, I was diagnosed with Acral Melanoma. By May 1st, 2019 I lost my right ring finger and was accepted into a treatment trial. My son got married on 5/25 and my daughter was due to graduate on 12/2019. I focused so intently on my family and the life events that were fast approaching that ignored that I had cancer. I didn’t want to ruin these special occasions, so I stuffed it down. My anxiety increased and I lost a lot of weight. I literally couldn’t imagine why. I had disconnected from my experiences, my fears, and myself. It wasn’t until December that I allowed it all in. I went to put on my favorite gloves and it didn’t register why the right one didn’t fit right until I notice the empty space where my right ring finger should have been. I called my best friend and my sisters sobbing . They all showed up with beautiful mittens and a ton of love and support. My husband assured me that no matter what, we were in this together and he would hold my hand if it got cold. So, now I wear mittens and they remind me of my amazing friends, my phenomenal team at Smilow how grateful I am for my husband, my children, and my sisters.

I’m three years out and the things I’ve learned are- Cancer sucks, fears are real and debilitating, life happens no matter what, most people are loving and kind, giving of yourself is the best gift you can give. Today I’m on the board of Hamden Youth Connections, a member of our high school’s Governance Council, a member of CT against gun violence, and an advocate for kids. I live my life one day at a time. I still have scans every six months, I see my oncologist every three months and I completed my immunotherapy treatment. Sometimes I’m crabby and sometimes I cry, but I’m alive and for that I’m grateful.


Victoria Simiola
Acral Melanoma Survivor
Age 56
Hamden, Ct