Northern Michigan Man Beats Odds Surviving Brain Aneurysm

Every year about 30,000 Americans suffer a brain aneurysm.

According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, half of those people will die from it.

September is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month.

One Boyne Falls man is beating odds and raising awareness.

Joey Loper is a devoted dad to two girls, and loving husband to wife Barb.

A little over a month ago, what started as a headache, turned into something much more.

“The only thing he really had was an extreme headache and we were walking back to the room, that’s when he said he was weak and he collapsed,” Barb said.

Joey suffered a brain aneurysm.

Once stable, he was flown to McLaren in Flint, where a specialist performed life-saving surgery.

“It felt like the longest car ride in the world,” Barb said.

After about a month in Flint, Joey returned to McLaren Northern Michigan for recovery in their Acute Rehab Center.

“It’s been great, just trying to get back to normal,” Joey said.

Dr. Brian Visser calls Joey’s case, a miracle.

“In fact there’s a high incident of death, that in its self is miraculous,” Dr. Visser said. “The fact that he almost completely recovered up until this point already, is indeed miraculous.”

“To think they’re talking about me, it’s like wow, I could be gone, like my kids could be here without me and I’m just glad to be here,” Joey said.

Dr. Visser says the number one symptom to look out for is a severe headache. Other symptoms of a brain aneurysm include neck pain and possibly extreme vomiting.

“If you have any of the symptoms get checked out immediately, don’t wait,” Joey said.

The Loper family has received community support with custom bracelets capturing Joey’s love of freighters.

A picture he captured of his favorite freighter traveled with him throughout his recovery.

“It reminded me of home, I’m going home, I’m gonna get home, and today I’m going home,” Joey said.

The miracle patient was discharged Monday and headed back to his home in Boyne Falls.