Virginian Loses Weight, Gains Life (WashingtonExaminer.com)
Molly Nevola THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Two years ago, Jack Koukerjinian was so overweight that just walking up steps without pain was impossible, and jumping out of a window blindfolded or scampering down a ladder seemed, well, beyond impossible.
Now, after battling obesity for nearly 18 years, the 42-year-old single father is a volunteer firefighter in Prince William County.
Mr. Koukerjinian, who was born in Beirut and grew up in Greece, came to the United States in 1979 for treatment of leukemia, which returned in 1990 when his father was battling cancer.
"I turned to food and nearly doubled in weight, and ever since then I was obese," he said.
In 1999, a door opened when Mr. Koukerjinian was hired in the financial department of Sibley Memorial Hospital in Northwest, where he still works.
He knew his condition was worsening when, at 34, he was constantly tired, his knees were failing and he feared he had sleep apnea.
After years of considering weight-loss surgery, Mr. Koukerjinian decided in 2007 to undergo the procedure at the hospital's new center, whose program included psychological tests and sleep studies.
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