Live the Lion was created in an attempt to keep everyone up to date on Lance O'Cull and his road to recovery.

Lance was involved in a car accident near Morehead, Kentucky about 30 miles from where we grew up Thanksgiving weekend of 2010. He was airlifted from the scene of the accident to UK Medical Center in Lexington. The doctors told us that they could fix everything below the neck, but his brain was in God's hands. On December 22, after multiple surgeries, Lance was transferred to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia for an intense rehabilitation program.

It was there that Lance began to gradually emerge from a coma. Lance was discharged to home, in Vanceburg on February 17th, to continue his therapy with family.

On March 10th, Lance's 25th birthday, he stood on his feet for the first time in 103 days, with lots of help. On May 11th, Lance was accepted into Cardinal Hill's brain injury unit. There he impressed and amazed our family and friends, as well as his therapists through the progress he made everyday.

Between September 2011 and April of 2012, Lance was back and forth between Cardinal Hill's inpatient program and Shepherd Center's inpatient and outpatient program. He has had a couple minor surgeries to enhance his healing and a baclofen pump inserted to help with the tone in his body.

For the past year, Lance is back in Lewis County splitting his time with both parents. He continues to travel to Ashland 3 times a week and Lexington once a week. He is learning to walk again and we couldn't be more thrilled.

It hasn't been easy, Lance has had some setbacks and tears still fall. But he is up and running this marathon. And we are all running right along beside him.

Most of the blog entries have been made by myself, Chelcee, the big sister, Brock, our baby brother, and Dr. Johnny, our dad. Our goal is for Lance to finish this blog as soon as he is able.

God has been with Lance and our entire family, giving us strength. We give Him the Glory. He is the God of Miracles.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

one finger for yes, two fingers for no

When I was younger I was sure that I had a perfect family. I had two sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles and cute little cousins. No one ever missed a meal at either of my grandmas houses and the world was just as it should be.  As I grew up, I was convinced my family was just as crazy as everyone else’s. Apparently, siblings argue, parents get divorced, people do things you don’t expect and of course, not everything always goes as you plan. 
Now that I'm older and I've experienced life, somewhat.. I have come to the conclusion that my family is just that… My family. God gave them to me for a reason. And I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. 
Lance had moved to Morehead in August to 'scratch that scientific itch' as he says. He moved in with Brock. He had become my best friend in the last few months. The three of us were closer than we had ever been. Its been 9 years since we had even lived in the same house. By living in the same city, we were able to make dinner together or just hang out. I had posted on my facebook that my brothers were two of the most amazing people in the world. I stand by that. But I need to add the rest of my family to my list. My mom has been so strong, always looking for the next baby-step that Lance is making. My dad's words on the previous post show his extraordinary faith. And my stepmom's belief in prayer and ability to read the Bible to him everyday is amazing. Because sometimes I feel like all I can do is sit by his bed and hold his hand. Our grandparents, aunts and step-sisters continual love and devotion to do whatever it takes to help him or us is also the best we could ever ask for. 
Lance's accident has been terrifying. The unknown is the most scary. But I know that God has great plans for us, especially for Lance. And that many wonderful things are to come.
One of Lance's good friends, Trish Murphy described Lance beautifully in her blog,  she said, "He went through a period of introspection this fall and finally seems to have a plan for what he wants to do next. Or rather, what he can do, because what he wants to do is everything. His biggest struggle seems to always be that he wasn't doing enough, or that which he could do wouldn't make a big enough difference"

For those of you who know me, I'm not much into the sappy love mushy stuff. So, you know that all of this teary eyed nonsense is about to get the best of me. So, i'm going to finish up with the facts... thats how I like it. :)

Lance's right foot would like to move continually. However, they have put a cast on it to prevent foot-drop. That cast will become a splint tomorrow. His left leg hasn't moved much since the accident. Thats the leg that was in traction.  They have a splint fixed for it as well. His left arm and shoulder received most of the nerve and muscle damage. It is moving a little now though. His right arm... well, its amazing. We have put a pen in his hand a couple times. Brock told him to write his name. We think he gave it a very good effort. Occupational, physical and speech therapy have been working with Lance everyday. One of the things they started was asking him simple yes or no questions and having him hold up one finger for yes. and two fingers for no. He answered correctly to... Is your name Christopher?  Is your name lance? Are you at home? Are you in the hospital? Is it 2010? They have also asked him to hold up three fingers, and then all five. Sometimes, it takes him a minute to get his brain to tell his hand to do these small tasks. but its progress. and we love progress!
He is still coughing up his own secretions. Respiratory was able to take him off of oxygen altogether. He is breathing room air and his oxygen saturation is staying in the high 90's, usually 99%. He sat in the wheelchair today for an hour. Tomorrow, the plan is to be up for an hour and half. 

Thanks again for all of the prayers that have gone up all over the tristate area and beyond. My prayers tonight include Shannon Gilbert. She was involved in a car accident on Tuesday morning. She had to be airlifted to St. Mary's.  Her dad, Ted Gilbert is my dad's good friend and neighbor. They are keeping her in a drug induced coma until Friday. From what I've heard, they’ve been given some of the same information we were given just 4 weeks ago. They can fix the injuries below the head. But the brain is in God's hands. My heart goes out to this family tonight. Please keep them in your hearts as well.



  1. You've not met me, but you have some Western KY pray-ers, too. Our son Ian was one of Lance's roommates at U of L.

    In an earlier post you said Lance is amazing. So is his family! I'm so glad Lance has such a supportive family, the expertise of the Shepherd Center and especially the GOOD SHEPHERD to guide you all through this trial.

    I will continue to be praying for you and will add the Gilbert family to my prayers.
    -Cindy McArtor

  2. You don't know me either, but Lance does. I went to U of L with him. We were both in Intervarsity. I found out about his accident almost a week after it happened. I was in disbelief. Then I got on FB and read the horrifying news. I followed a link to the this blog. I have been reading almost every day.

    This post today has made me cried. I am so excited that Lance has made such progress that he can answer simple yes and no questions! I have been praying for him and I will continue to do so!!! Lance you can do this!

  3. I hope you all realize how much we look forward to the updates on Lance and it is wonderful how you all share your personal feelings and experiences with Lance. He will enjoy reading all of them some day soon. Prayers are being answered and each hurdle he overcomes is a victory for everyone. God bless you guys and know daily prayers are being said for Lance and for all of you.

  4. WoW I am so Happy to hear some Good news!! And this sounds like Great News!! Were thinking of and praying for you all every day. You are right you do have a wonderful strong and supportive family! I think a lot of your parents. I haven't seen your mom since she left the Health Department Please tell her were all wishing for the best! I know its so hard right now but I can see where each little step gives everyone more confidence and faith that more good things will happen soon! My heart is just so happy to know there is progress! We are praying for Shannon & her family too, such a sweet young lady. Not unlike your family's path they are at the wait and see part I just pray that when they see it will be good news! Thank you all for posting and keeping us up on Lance's progress. I was so excited when I saw the news!
    ......Karen Killen

  5. I am so happy to see this great improvement!!! I have been checking your blog daily. This one, along with your dad's, also had me in tears. I have so many memories of you all when you were growing up, and am happy to have them. You have such an amazing family. My heart goes out to you all, and I am so sorry you have had to go through this whole ordeal. I will continue to pray every day for Lance's recovery and daily improvement, and will for Shannon and her family too. Thank you all so much for your posts. Hugs to you all!!!!...Sherry Carver