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.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1 Cor. 3:5

"Our power and ability and sufficiency are from God."  I claim this verse tonight as we embark on the next chapter of Lance's life, his recovery, and the unfolding of God's plan through us.  I was drawn to this verse in a book by Major W. Ian Thomas received as a gift from Sarah Ott.  This gift and the visits from Sarah and her friends have been very special.  Yesterday she and Ben visited us in Lance's room and we said our good-byes - as we conclude the current treatment program here at the Shepherd Center.

The week has been busy here in Atlanta and back in Vanceburg as tomorrow is travel day for Lance.  He has finished the coma prep program; it was actually extended a couple of weeks as the doctors and staff thought he was "close" to emerging.  I have learned that "close" can be quite elusive and disappointing.  We knew and accepted at the outset, that the "wake-up" steps that were to be attempted here may not bring us to the point of full consciousness for Lance.  The program has been wonderfully rendered by topnotch professionals, but Lance is still not awake, as Chelcee explained so well in a previous blog.(Is Lance Awake?)  We also came to Atlanta knowing that, if this happened, we would be bringing Lance home for the next stage.  This next stage has a less clear time frame,  but one should count on weeks to months.  This part of his recovery will include placing him in a familiar environment with lots of rest.  There can and should be visitors; we will ask that visitors realize that short visit times with Lance will be best and that different days will have different circumstances.

We have said good-byes and thank-yous to so many at the Shepherd Center this week.  All of them say, "We will see you back soon".  This is very encouraging and there are many success stories that describe how the "wake-up" occurs several weeks/months after leaving the hospital.  We will continue to pray that this is Lance's future.  Last night Lance, Gena, and I spent the night in a transitional apartment designed to give comfort and training to families as they prepare to bring patient to the home setting.  All went well; we feel very fortunate that training/careers from the past will prove helpful for this next stage.  Thanks to all of you as you offer so much encouragement and help.  Your prayers and God's provision will carry us through this chapter of the vigil.  I know He has a plan; we just have to wait for Him to display His power.  Waiting is tough, especially for us who are short on patience.

So tomorrow at 10:00 AM, the ambulance is to load Lance for the 455 mile  ride to Vanceburg.  We all need good sleep tonight.  This stage has many emotions flooding our system.  There is some anxiety about caring for him.  There is nervousness about where this stage leads.  There are those who think hope is gone, while, there are those that believe God is waiting for the right moment to perform His miracle.  As we wrestle with these and many more, here is a beautiful truth to remember.  God knows our thoughts, our hearts, every tear we shed.  Sarah reminded Lance through prayer, that God understood his thoughts even though he could not verbally express them. God knows yours and mine as well.  I just want to remember the verse that describes the source of our power, our ability, our sufficiency.  As we travel I-75 north, the road is clearly marked.  If we decide to make a turn, GPS systems and maps can direct us.  On the paths that we must walk through life, we sometimes find ourselves in areas unfamiliar.  Lance is on an unmarked, rocky, and mountainous path right now (perhaps similar to passes he observed on the Nicene Way).  I know Lance must feel comfort knowing that God is the guide on this journey.  I know I do.



  1. Praying for you all and for Lance as you all travel today!!! Praying for healing!

  2. Just another path he is taking on his journey back. I am also praying for a safe return and continued healing and progress. Remember I am just down the road if you need me!
    Love to all of you!

  3. On your way through this Journey with all the mountains and the Valleys remember God is your GPS
    (Gods Perfect System) although we cannot grasp the reasons for it all he is the great Director he has the blue prints and we must be the carpenters to bring his plans together with trust and faith always. Another Beautiful truth as long as we believe and trust in God there is always HOPE! As Lance and your family travels this unmarked, rocky, and mountainous path Let hope , faith, prayer and the many people around you who care help keep you going. Every carpenter needs a rest a time to ponder and yes even a shoulder to lean on now and then. As I looked at the beautiful morning sky this morning I was in awe of the wonder of all that God has created such beauty and such wonder and in this sky I saw one little cloud drop down by its self shaped much like a music note. This picturesque view to celebrate a brand new day and this day that Lance will return home among family and friends to heal and to grow and to continue the work on the great carpenters blue print. Our thoughts and prayers with you always on your journey.

  4. God has given Lance this beautiful day for his travel back home to Vanceburg. Prayers are with all of you.

  5. As Lance travels back home to family and friends, I'm going to let God guide my prayers as I recall Biblical family re-unions and trips back home. Already I'm rejoicing as Jacob did when he was reconciled with Esau, as Joseph did when he was reunited with his father and brothers, and as Nehemiah did when the wall was built in the midst of adverse conditions. The flood of Bible stories continues as God's intervention in the lives of people throughout history is never-ending! I'm looking forward to this next chapter in Lance's story and trust that Lance will be providing his insights soon.
    Cindy McArtor

  6. Waiting on God is not easy but it is worthy! Trusting and praying for the miracle.

    Love and prayers!


  7. We are anxiously awaiting Lance's return home. We have talked to Shannon about coming to visit Lance whenever you feel it is appropriate. She can talk to him from a perspective that only the two of them can relate to, and maybe this can help. May God continue to comfort you and give you safe travel today.

    Ted & Holly