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.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Safely Home

Lance is sleeping in Vanceburg tonight for the first time since he awakened here on Sunday morning  Nov. 28, 2010.  That night and all the nights until Dec. 22 were at the UK Medical Center.  Christmas, New Years Day,  January, and all of February, through today, were at the Shepherd Center.  As morning breaks in Atlanta, there is fog but soon the sun will burn it away and a cloudless day will be a blessing we can enjoy for the trip.  The trip from Atlanta was smooth and he tolerated the ride in the ambulance well.  The next couple of days will provide time for quiet recuperation from the long, bouncing ride on a stretcher.

The good-byes at Shepherd were tearful; it is so great to see the wonderful, compassionate people that serve humanity as health care workers.  Lance's family also witnessed many nurses, aids, and physicians that truly loved Lance and also wanted to help all of us in a time of distress.  The therapists and nurses all stopped by his room this week with instructions for home.  Consistent in their visits was the premise and desire that he would return engage in rehabilitation.  Dr. Fadia speaks positively, with what seems to be a guarded optimism.  We have greatly appreciated this facility and their employees; we realize that this is not the only rehab opportunity that he would have after emergence, but it is truly a special place.  One last event which was so special was a prayer by nurse  Delores.  She put her hands on Lance and us and  spoke to God as only one, who knows and speaks often with Him,can.

EMT's Shane and Juliet manned the ambulance as Lance's kind care continued and only two stops were made on the trip.  Gena administered doses of medicine at each of these to insure comfortable and relaxed travel for him.  We encountered only one significant slowdown - road construction about an hour north of Atlanta - after that it was high speed ahead.  The full moon was shining brightly as we moved through the valley from Tollesboro to Vanceburg.  As we drove between the rock cut at the peak of the Ronald Reagan connector, you could see the flickering lights in town with the river as the backdrop as well as the lights of the Black Oak community.  As we turned on River Drive our hearts were warmed as neighbors stood in driveways to wave their hands and signs, as we passed by yards with welcome signs for Lance, and as we turned into the driveway to see banners on the garage.

Once inside, Lance was quickly moved from the confining cot on which he had been placed at 10:15 AM, eight and a half hours earlier.  Chelcee has worked diligently, with the help of others, to get all prepared at the house for his arrival.  Today medical supplies and equipment were delivered throughout the day.  Also in attendance, to help settle Lance in, were his mom Jill and his grandparents(John & Marlene and Betty).  Ben helped me unload vehicle and organize all this stuff which Lance needs and the other things that must be on hand when preparing for all situations that a patient can encounter.  Basically, the room/area has turned into a mini-hospital.  

There were many thoughts swirling as we followed Central EMS Unit # 36 for 455 miles.  There was the idea  of bringing a fallen hero home - I could not help but think of the families that have experienced that pain, even more tragic than our circumstance.  There are many, but a few come to mind: Billie Gwen (Ziegler) Barbour,  Mike and Kathy Newdigate, and recently Jim and Michelle Cochran.  There is the notion that we are bringing Lance home as a long term care patient;  I  continue trusting, praying, believing that God is not finished in this yet.   We want God to be glorified in what happens in Lance's life and are thanking Him in advance for what He is going to do.  

As we try to get rest tonight, Lance is very restless - not unexpected after all the change.  We thank you for all the prayers you have offered during his journey; tonight we are safely home.  As he heals, as he rests, as we wait.............home sure feels good.


my good friend Tara, was able to get pictures of most of the signs... Thanks Tara. Much Love Everyone, its been a long day, I'm SO glad my brother is home. He may not be sitting cross legged in my floor rambling on about philosophy, but he's here and in God's time, everything will fall into place. ~chelcee


  1. Welcome home Lance. A bright, sunny day for the drive home and a beautiful full moon to brighten the evening on your final miles to home. All good signs for a positive recovery for Lance. Welcome home Lance, welcome home.

  2. WELCOME HOME, LANCE!!! I am so grateful for you and your family's safe return home. I hope all goes well in the next few days as you get re-adjusted to being back home.Here is a poem for you.
    "When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
    When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
    You may succeed with another blow,
    Success is failure turned inside out--
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far;
    So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
    It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."
    ~ Unknown
    God bless!!!

  3. Welcome home, Lance and family. Sleeping in your own bed can be so uplifting. Prayers still being said for all of you. Gina Insko