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Nicole Washburn: I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Nurturing our imagination also allows us to visualize new, improved realities for ourselves and bring them into being. Anytime we get lost in a creative project, we open ourselves to a higher mindset and frequency. This is the perfect time to focus on what we want. Expressing our dreams and desires as art becomes another powerful way to get what we want in life.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Washburn.

Nicole is a copywriter, ghostwriter, and book coach with over 30 years of experience leading diverse writing projects. As a writing teacher, she designed and ran creative writing programs at her outdoor environmental center in Argentina before teaching private, online classes for international writers of all ages: children, grad students, seasoned writers, Ivy League professors, and entrepreneurs. She’s the author of COPYWRITING MAGIC: How to Create Brilliant Content That Attracts Your Dream Clients and currently runs programs offering 1-on-1 support for spiritual entrepreneurs writing the copy (and books!) that establish them as experts in their field.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to talk with you.

I grew up in New Orleans and in rural Maryland in the late ’70s and ’80s, so I consider myself a typical old-school Gen Xer who likes to enjoy the simple things in life.

I’ve always been fascinated by animals and the outdoors, so when my family moved from suburban New Orleans to rural Maryland, it opened me to the beauty of nature and led me to pursue work in the outdoors. I ended up living in Argentina for 22 years, where I worked in environmental education and raised my sons in the central hills of Córdoba.

Visiting an amusement park when I was five years old and having a beautiful fairy queen in a long white dress bless me marked me at a young age. She sat on her throne in the middle of the park. But, of course, to my 5-year-old self, she wasn’t an actress hired to play the role; she was an actual fairy queen! So, I took it very seriously when she told me to close my eyes and make a wish while she tapped me on the head with her crystal wand.

Impressed by the magic of the moment, the ability to ask for anything I wanted, and the unwavering belief that she and her wand could grant my wish, I went back over and over for more wishes! It was my favorite part of the park, and I never forgot the feeling of unwavering faith and absolute belief that anything is possible. It’s pulled me through many difficult times in my life. Whenever I focus on what I want, I usually manifest it. This childhood experience gave me a deep understanding of how I interact with the world and became a key factor later when diagnosed with cancer.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Your word is your wand.” Florence Shovel Shinn wrote this 100 years ago, and it’s my guiding truth. Words have the power to create the reality we live. The power of words showed up when I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. My mom gave me a copy of Louise Hay’s classic, You Can Heal Your Life, which connects physical ailments to negative belief patterns and suggests affirmations that “flip the energy” with healing statements. I have used affirmations as a balm on many wounds to great effect. I also continue to use them to call all the things I want to be, do, and experience into my life. Words truly are our wand.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Doing a routine self-breast check, I found a lump in my left breast. My gynecologist told me it was a cyst and nothing to worry about a few days later. However, the mammogram results worried the technician so much she broke protocol and put her job on the line by contradicting my doctor. She urged me to get a biopsy immediately. That biopsy proved her right and allowed me to get early treatment.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

I thought I only had a few months to live during that first week after my diagnosis. In my understanding, cancer equaled death, and the thought of my 5-year old twin sons growing up without me was heartbreaking. However, once the doctors told me that I would only lose my breast and survive, it didn’t feel so scary. Everything happened quickly, and I had a mastectomy a few weeks later.

How did you react in the short term?

I was shocked, in disbelief. There was undoubtedly a disconnect because the reality was so daunting. I have cancer?? It seemed that there must be some mistake or misunderstanding. Once the biopsy came back, that disbelief shifted to fear and then quickly into a fierce determination to improve my emotional and physical health.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

Confident that my mind frame influenced my healing ability, I became very grateful and focused on the present moment. As a result, I turned to art, meditation, and prayer as new daily habits. This fierce combination led me into an entirely new chapter in my life.

While cancer doesn’t mean certain death, it does mark the end of something in our lives and a new beginning. In my case, I had to change my diet, both physically and energetically. I needed to be mindful of the words I used and the repeated thoughts in my head. I had to change how I spent my time.

After my surgery, the relief and delight of surviving cancer turned into a sense of sadness over the physical cost. Losing a breast is a shocking thing. I had to get used to my new body and rebuild my self-esteem and self-image. That process became an opportunity to love and care for myself. Cancer spotlighted all the work I needed to do to live a healthy life-physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

After diagnosis but before my surgery, I met with my friend Pablo, who was also having health challenges, every day to meditate and do creative projects. We would go into the woods or set up a space outside in the garden to draw, paint, write and collage. We always opened the session with a meditation and guided visualization. Time became precious and sacred. Choosing to focus on these new creative and spiritual activities was incredibly beneficial for us.

Soon after my mastectomy, Pablo was diagnosed with lymphoma, but we had already set the stage for total healing. Accompanying each other through what could have been the darkest time meant we had fun and enjoyed the process more than we fell victim to it. I’m so grateful to my sweet, smart, and witty friend for those power sessions. We shared a lot of laughter and positivity that ultimately helped us both heal.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

Cancer taught me that my body is an expression of my thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Prioritizing positive emotional states means my life became healthier. After being diagnosed with cancer, I started doing collage art to express myself during that turbulent time. That initial exploration developed into my spiritual practice and shaped my new lifestyle. Making art is still one of my favorite things to do. I don’t think I would have found collage art as my medium of choice if cancer hadn’t pushed me to find ways of releasing negative emotions and embodying beautiful, healing energy.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I love sharing my way of using creative expression to discover untapped parts within ourselves and release our stories and visions into the world. So I began leading workshops centered around art and creative writing. All my work focuses on helping people shift their mindset from what isn’t working to what’s possible. Creative activities make this process easier and provide the fastest path to getting what we want.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

That it will be the darkest time of your life. In my case, it was both very frightening and highly enlightening. It was my rebirth. I encourage anyone with cancer to focus on transforming old, unhealthy habits into new, improved ways of living and seeing the illness as an opportunity.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

Understanding and implementing 5 truths will help you beat cancer and come out of it stronger, happier, and healthier than ever.

  1. Your attitude and mindset make a difference. Flood your psyche with positive beliefs. For me, this meant waking up early in the morning and walking in the woods. I focused on the beauty and love around me. I felt entirely protected by nature, and it set the tone for each day.
  2. Your body has an incredible capacity to heal completely. Our body is constantly regenerating itself. Every organ is continually creating new cells, and research has proven that we have an entirely new liver or brain within a year, for example. Trust that your body wants to restore itself and help it become as strong and vibrant as possible. Feed it good food, good thoughts, and good emotional states. This combination is energy medicine that will help you heal.
  3. Life happens now; do what you love. Being diagnosed with cancer made me incredibly sensitive to time. I didn’t want to lose myself with excessive thoughts about the past or the future anymore. Don’t waste your precious time! Do what you love today. Engage in healthy activities that bring you joy and raise your energy levels. Your body will respond, and you’ll align with what you really want in life.
  4. Get advice and options from diverse healthcare experts. Don’t stay with one opinion. Research both allopathic and natural, energetic healing paths to maximize your potential to bounce back.
  5. Art is therapeutic. Get creative. Engaging in artistic activities lowers our blood pressure, reduces inflammation, lowers anxiety, pain levels, and shifts us into a space that is conducive to healing. We can quickly release tension and trauma in the body by expressing our frustrations and difficult emotions through color and composition.

Nurturing our imagination also allows us to visualize new, improved realities for ourselves and bring them into being. Anytime we get lost in a creative project, we open ourselves to a higher mindset and frequency. This is the perfect time to focus on what we want. Expressing our dreams and desires as art becomes another powerful way to get what we want in life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

I encourage everyone to connect with their artistic side and express themselves in ways that bring them joy. Creativity healed me when I was diagnosed with cancer, and it continues to heal me. I hope to inspire everyone to explore their ideas, stories, and vision of the world through visual and written artistic expression. This is what I focus on with my clients, but anyone can benefit from the healing power of creativity.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)

Yes. I would love to sit down with Joe Vitale. As both a master copywriter and “law of attraction” mentor, he is someone who has taught me a lot about conscious manifestation and powerful writing that inspires decisive action. I would love to thank him personally because his books have made a massive impact on my life.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please visit my website https://www.nicolewashburn.com/ or connect with me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/nicole.washburn.16/

My bestselling book, Copywriting Magic, is available at Amazon.com.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank you! It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

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Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 Best-selling Author, Syndicated Columnist, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor