Harvard Women's Health Watch

Healing yourself after injury, illness, or surgery

A book outlines what you can do to heal as well as possible.

During the year or two after surgery or treatment for a serious medical problem, many people find they need help to feel better emotionally and physically but don't know where to turn. In You Can Heal Yourself (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2012), Dr. Julie Silver, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and chief editor of books at Harvard Health Publications (which publishes Harvard Women's Health Watch), details practical steps you can take for optimal healing. Her recommendations are based on research and, says Dr. Silver, "years of listening to my patients tell me what helps them and what doesn't." We talked to her about some of the ideas behind You Can Heal Yourself.

Why did you write this book?

When I was in my 30s, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through treatment and was really sick. When I was done with treatment, I was told to go back to work, but I was too sick to go back to work. At the time, cancer rehabilitation wasn't an option where I'd been treated, and I had to figure out how to heal myself. One of the biggest obstacles is that it can take a long time. Insurance doesn't always pay for treatments, and there aren't always enough resources. So people really are left to heal on their own.

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