PoetryFrom Your Navigator

A Navigator’s Day

Breast cancer patient navigator Lisa Spencer knows that what she says to her patients can affect their lives. She wrote this poem honoring the importance of carefully choosing her words as a patient navigator.
April 2022 Vol 8 No 2
Lisa Spencer, MEd, BSRT(T), CN-BI, OPN-CG
Lebanon, Pennsylvania

As a cancer survivor myself, this poem describes my own internal struggle, and the raw acknowledgement that as a Breast Care Patient Navigator, what I say to patients about their diagnosis can change their lives forever.

I travel each day
to a place of healing and of dying.
I hope to make a difference,
but some days I cause the world to come crashing down
with my voice…
I want to help, but my words, my news…
I say it gently,
I say it with hope,
I say it with courage and conviction.
How can I say it differently?
I cannot.
I must say it with honesty.
I am there to navigate rough waters
and to guide the drowning.
I call out and create a path
that leads the blinded.
I soothe the frightened,
and I hug the shaking.
I travel miles each day,
I know I make a difference.
I do it for them,
And for me—
The cancer survivors.

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Last modified: June 7, 2022

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