About Cor de Kroon

A ‘Fries om útens’

Born in Groningen, raised in Friesland and flourished in Leiden via Amsterdam: a ‘Fries om útens’ as they call it. When I moved to Amsterdam after studying medicine in Groningen, I never expected not to return. Who knows, maybe somday, but for now I am having a great time in Leiden with my wife and 2 sons. And although sûkerbôle is much tastier, by now I’ve almost gotten used to the stew with brisket on October the 3rd.

Looking for the right thing

As a doctor, I am always looking for ‘the right thing’: the right thing at that moment, given that situation, for that patient and her loved ones. This is often easy, regularly complicated and sometimes difficult. But it is precisely then that it is important to look together with those involved at what is possible, what is allowed, what is ‘the right thing’. Guiding patients and their loved ones in that search for ‘the right thing’ is challenging, intense, unique, honorable and I can’t imagine that it will ever become a routine. Those quests, that’s why I became a doctor.

But I also try to convey that ‘looking for the right thing’ outside the consulting room. By teaching, by studying, by reading and by entering into conversations. Conversations in the hallway, conversations with colleagues, conversations with patients and conversations on social media. But mostly by marvelling. Marvelling at what I see, what I do, what I hear and what happens. And then talk about it again. Thus, I keep looking…

cor de kroon gynaecoloog lumc
Cor de Kroon. Photo by N. Klijn

Based on this desire for ‘the right thing’, I am heavily involved in developing guidelines for the care of patients with gynecological cancer, I write information material and columns for patient association Olijf and I answer questions on www.kanker.nl. And in the regional network, in which we collaborate intensively as practitioners of patients with gynecological cancer from different specialisms and areas of expertise, we also succeed in doing ‘the right thing’ in the right place. And with Vitroscan I am looking for a way to predict whether chemotherapy will be successful in order to hopefully choose the right treatment in the future.

When surgery is the right thing… 

And when surgery is the right thing to do at any time as part of treatment for gynecologic cancer, then it is a privilege to be able to do that surgery and I am proud that patients are in good hands with me and my team . It’s bizarre to me to realize that I just cycle to work a few times a week while patients are being taken to the operating room at that very moment for perhaps the most frightening, the most exciting and the most important thing they will ever experience in their lives : undergoing surgery for cancer. I recommend anyone who wants to know what it’s like to have surgery read Saturday, in which Ian McEwan describes a Saturday in the life of a neurosurgeon. Because take it from me: it’s not like in Grey’s Anatomy and Medical Center West (famous Dutch hospital drama series).

And sometimes nothing at all!!

Doing nothing is not easy, but music and running help! Or else nice music on the headphones with a book on the couch, binge Netflix or a good glass of wine with friends. And of course sailing. Sailing together on the Kaag on the DB2, on Frisian lakes on a skûtjse from Prego Zeilzweren or on the beautiful Wad.

Sometimes I think that sailing on the Wad is like operating: you have a goal, you are prepared down to the last detail, you depend on a lot of factors that you have no influence on yourself, but which, if you are well equipped, have sufficient experience. With the right people and the right equipment, you can do it all. And before departure the same healthy tension as before an operation, while the coffee after a successful operation tastes the same as the coffee when the trusses are fixed and the sails are furled.

One of my professors often said ‘better is the enemy of the best’. Under her wing, I’ve lost the youthful bravado enabling me to see that she was right. From then on the searches for the right thing began. I hope to be able to make many more of these, because they are anything but routine.