Kerry Fraser: Finding a 'New Normal' After a Cancer Diagnosis
Retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser explained how rest and exercise both factor into his “new normal” after receiving a diagnosis of essential thrombocythemia in 2017.
BY Kerry Fraser
PUBLISHED July 30, 2019
During our discussion for the CURE Talks Cancer podcast, retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser explained how rest and exercise both factor into his “new normal” after receiving a diagnosis of essential thrombocythemia in 2017.
CURE: How did you get used to your "new normal" after being diagnosed?
Fraser: That's a great question, because there are times when we go along. It's been two years, pretty much, since I've been diagnosed, and you work at it, and for me, one of the side effects was fatigue. I'm a "go-go-go," an Energizer bunny kind of guy. But I found with this at some point in a month, or in a week, I'd hit the wall, and I would have to go down. I just couldn't fight it off. When I needed to rest, I rested. It could be 12 to 14 hours, but it recharged the batteries, and away I'd go again.
The one thing that I found is that exercise really helps. It helps me mentally and physically. It recharges the batteries no differently than when I refereed. If I flew out to Los Angeles and I was going to be on a 10-day trip out there, and I was tired from being at home and my wife and I have seven children, so consequently, I was usually tired when I left home. But rather than go to bed out there, the first thing I did was put on my gym gear and go down and ride the bike. That's kind of the mindset that I have now. I typically do a 10- to 12-mile ride at a good clip. I monitor my heart rate so that my training zone as a referee was 165 to 168 beats per minute.
I'm now 67 years old. I still train in the 155 to 158 beats per minute range, which kind of scared my hematologist, but he said, "Hey, if you're doing it, and you're used to doing it, keep doing it."