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But Hope Is Longer

Navigating the Country of Breast Cancer

by: Tamara Levine

A different breast cancer story - a survivor's account of how she straddled the worlds of mainstream and complementary medicine, and the team that helped her.

After being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, Tamara Levine wrote the first of eleven letters she would send to family and friends throughout her “year from hell”:

The nightmare that hangs over every woman's head has descended upon me. I have been transported to a new country like an unwilling (and unwitting) immigrant, even a deportee, uprooted from all that is familiar and dropped into a strange, inhospitable, and dangerous land.

Much more than a memoir, But Hope is Longer documents a personal odyssey that is also a universal one, offering insight, compassion, strategies, and surprises that individuals, families, and professionals dealing with cancer will find invaluable. Here Tamara shares the minefields, startling paradoxes, and unexpected joys of her healing journey. Confronted by the daunting labyrinth of the cancer care system, she fought to find a treatment plan that made sense for her. Above all, she strove to navigate and bring together the worlds of mainstream and complementary medicine.

Tamara brings us the voices of her team of healers: her oncologists, surgeon, naturopathic doctor, and life coach. They share their expertise, why they choose to do this work, how they cope with the inevitable losses, and their hopes and visions for cancer care.

Tamara Levine writes in Outreach, published by the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, about living life after breast cancer, including living with the fear that it might come back  (p. 8-9)

Tamara's article on straddling complementary and mainstream medicine for the Cancer Knowledge Network

Tamara and But Hope is Longer in Healthwise Ottawa

Q & A with Tamara on the Ottawa Hospital's blog

Tamara's piece for the Carp Ridge Eco Wellness Centre "Straddling in the Country of Cancer"

Tamara's Essay on her "Breast Friends" for The Globe and Mail

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"Were I to find or be told of a health problem such as Levine experienced with her cancer diagnosis, I would be as likely to go back to her book as to scour the Internet for information and call on medical friends for help. Thank you, Tamara Levine, for writing a book for our times, one that is right for and reflective of the second decade of the 21st century." - Anne Rochon Ford, Executive Director of the Canadian Women's Health Network. CWHN Online Review, June 6, 2014.

"A must-read resource for oncology healthcare providers and for those diagnosed with cancer, as well as their friends and family." - Herizons Magazine, April 1, 2013

"(A) thoughtful, well-written, informative and essential book, not just for those who have had cancer, but also for any of us who believe that we too could be next." - Outlook Magazine, April 5, 2013

"With strength and wisdom for those who are facing this ordeal themselves, 'But Hope is Longer' is a must for any memoir collection focusing on cancer and seeking to conquer it." - The Midwest Book Review, January 2013

"Part testimonial and part resource, Tamara takes us on her journey through a disease of unenviable odds, multiple therapies, and ultimately physical and personal transformation. It is a profound testament to the possibility of a truly integrative model of care that includes the voices of her dedicated team of healers. Her story demonstrates the challenges and possibilities of bridging what are often seen as conflicting medical cultures to create a powerful holistic and individualized therapeutic experience." - Dugald Seely, MSc., Naturopathic Doctor (ND), Fellow to the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology (FABNO) Executive Director, Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

"Like a gentle and wise friend who has just returned from a trip to hell, Levine beckons readers to pull up a chair, sit tight, and learn from her experience. If you are living with the fear that "this could happen to me," Levine's story gives you a chance to understand what she calls the country of breast cancer... [her] ability to be emotionally honest makes the telling [so] compelling." - Healthwise Ottawa, December 19, 2012

"Being diagnosed with breast cancer changes you, irrevocably. In But Hope is Longer, Tamara Levine writes beautifully of her own transformative process. She also, in sections called ‘Reflections,’ looks back on her experience with the benefit of time and a clear-eyed analysis. Finally, she interviews all of her caregivers, from those at the cancer centre, to her naturopathic doctor, to her life coach, bringing together their insights on treatment and patient care. The result is a book like no other." - Glebe Report, January 18, 2013

"But Hope is Longer delivers without being upsetting, even when Levine describes her brutal experience with a particular chemotherapy drug. She also does not indulge too much in the statistics found in some of the fact-based guide books considered must-reads in breast cancer circles – books that have made me want to scream and slam them shut midway through reading. She offers constructive advice for breast cancer patients, for their friends and for medical practitioners. She is upbeat and even manages to have some fun." - Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, January 21, 2013


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