Gender Confirmation Surgery: I Am in The Right Body

January 10, 2019

Camille Hansen Denver Health Gender Confirmation Surgery Patient
It was in kindergarten and first grade when Camille Hansen remembered always going over to the girls' side during gym class. Back then, Hansen's first name was Marc. She was born as a male but even from a young age, always felt like she was a female.

Hansen was born and raised in Denver, was married to a woman for 15 years and lived the American dream, until finally coming to the realization that she didn't want to just "dress up in drag" anymore. She wanted to become a woman.

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Watch Camille Hansen talk about her journey to becoming a woman at Denver Health.
At 42 years old, Hansen came to Denver Health, where she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. She calls the diagnosis her "Willie Wonka Golden Ticket" and the basis of her decision to have male-to-female gender confirmation surgery. "I was just so excited that I had a term for what I was feeling," Hansen said.

Denver Health Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Chris Carey performed Hansen's gender confirmation surgery. Dr. Carey trained with world-renowned gender confirmation surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers. He explained Hansen's diagnosis: "Gender is a condition. You have the gender you have and the gender that you have may or may not match your genitalia. [With] Gender Dysphoria, the dysphoria is the bad feeling, the pain, the disease of having to deal with it."

"When I saw Dr. Carey, I cried," Hansen reflected. "It was such a big moment because I knew my surgery was actually going to happen. Any questions I had, he was on top of it."

Hansen went through facial feminization, breast enhancement and vaginoplasty surgeries, and is going through hormone replacement therapy as well.

In a video taken of Hansen just minutes after she woke up from surgery for the first time, she looked at the camera and said, "I feel like I'm in the right body."

Camille Hansen grew up as Marc Hansen
Camille Hansen grew up as Marc Hansen before having her gender confirmation surgery at Denver Health.
Dr. Carey said, "I've been involved in the care of patients with gender dysphoria for more than 30 years. Throughout a lot of the country, the care is fragmented," meaning the surgeon is not involved with the patient's psychiatry. "At Denver Health, we are pretty unique, in that we offer all care [behavioral health, surgery and after care] in one place, with coordination between all of the [doctors, nurses and care givers] who are involved with it."

"Dr. Carey was a guardian angel," Hansen said. "Not only was he able to make my dreams of becoming a transgender model come true, but he had the experience, the knowledge and I will even say the courage, because there are some hospitals that will not get into transgender care for one reason or the other, and so I see him as an advocate for the LGBTQ community."

Hansen said that as a Denver native, she knew about Denver Health's stellar reputation for its Level One Trauma surgery but was not aware of the range of care offered, including the services at the LGBT Center of Excellence. She said her positive experience has changed her view of Denver Health for the better, and she is spreading the word.

Dr. Carey said, "I care for patients who need care, who can't get it somewhere else. That's what we do at Denver Health. Our LGBTQ community face hurdles in getting all kinds of medical care – whether it's treatment for a cold or getting your flu shot. You may be anywhere along this journey. Whatever you need, Denver Health can provide it."

Hansen works at a technology company for her daily income. Her passion projects are blogging and transgender modeling. She writes about her journey through her transition and now living as a woman on her website, Falling for Camille.

Looking back on her experience, Hansen said, "If you have an inkling that you want to get gender confirmation surgery, Denver Health is the place to do it."