Melissa Villaseor’s Story of a Stabbing on “Saturday Night Live”

Melissa Villaseñor left ‘SNL’ for mental health reasons after having panic attacks. Here, she talks to NBC News about her decision and what she hopes to take away from her time in LA. NBC News

On the night of April 11, 2016, Melissa Villaseñor, 38, was in control of the stage at the “Saturday Night Live” afterparty. “I took control of the stage,” the “Saturday Night Live” writer said at the time. “I thought, ‘This is my space.'”

But it wasn’t long before a man with a knife, who Villaseñor believes was also a “Saturday Night Live” writer, began arguing with his wife. When Villaseñor tried to intervene, the attacker pulled out a knife and stabbed her twice in the chest and once in the arm.

“I don’t remember thinking anything different after the attack than I had before it,” explained Villaseñor to NBC News and spoke with NBC’s Today. “It wasn’t until a few days later, after an MRI exam, that the doctors actually found my heart had been damaged, and the damage was caused by the attack on my chest.”

Villaseñor underwent surgery and received two months of treatment after the attack. A month later, her doctors told her she would have to endure chemotherapy and radiation treatments before her cancer would likely go into remission and that she would lose her arm. Villaseñor refused to leave her New York City home and decided to relocate to Los Angeles.

“I didn’t want to be away from my family or from my city,” she said. “Because it was hard on me, it was hard on my mom. And my brother was there. So she didn’t move back.”

The experience has been a tough lesson in life.

“I’ve learned that I have to make my own decisions,” Villaseñor said. “I’ve learned that I need to do the hard thing I need to do and not let anyone change my mind.”

How Villaseñor came to realize she needed to leave “Saturday Night Live”

Villaseñor began writing her memoir of life

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