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.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

straight up

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that I'm not one to sugar coat things. I give it to you straight up. If you don’t know me, you may decide that I'm mean or controlling… but in this circumstance, I'm just trying to be the big sister and do whats best for Lance.
Lance has spent 4 weeks at UK hospital, and 8 weeks at the Shepherd Center, now its time for him to be home. In his own surroundings, with his family. And his friends. We are trying to make things as normal as possible for him. Even though his room is set up like a hospital room and there are home health nurses and therapists in the house daily, we are trying to be normal. He also needs lots of rest. Lance's doctors and therapists have said as much as 14 hours of sleep a day is needed to help him heal.

Many people have asked about visiting Lance…
Because the brain is such a complex organ, we don't know what will help or trigger it into emerging from a coma. We do, however know that over stimulation can cause Lance to shut down. By this I mean, sometimes he will turn his head away or close his eyes. I think its his way of saying, 'ok… I've had enough'.  With that said, over-stimulation is something that we definitely want to avoid. So, I have some rules when it comes to visiting. Again, I'm not trying to be rude, we are just trying to do what is best for Lance and follow the doctor's orders.

1. Let us know…
Calling to let us know when you want to visit is best. If you know our cell phone numbers, call it first, or feel free to text.  We are trying to keep all noise down in the house.
2. Make it short and sweet…
Long visits can over-stimulate and tire Lance.  So short visits are best.
3. Don't travel in packs
Its best if you don’t ravel in a pack of 10. You don't have to come alone, but a big group of people can be overwhelming for him.
4. Don't be offended
If therapy is here or a nurse, we need to let them do their job, their time is very valuable. So, please don't be offended if your visit is cut short due to something of that nature.
5. Cleanliness is next to Godliness
We have been very fortunate that Lance so far hasn't had any major infections. I've even had to wear a mask when I was ill to keep him from catching it. So, we ask that you please refrain from coming if you are sick. We have hand-sanitizer right inside our door, please use that, especially if you are coming from school. I even encouraged mom to change her shirt today when she arrived from school.
6. Don't be scared.
Don't be afraid to come... I haven't kicked anyone out. yet :)

So.. there it is folks, that's me… beating around the bush. 

We are so excited to have Lance home.
During the ambulance ride, he was given some medicine to help him relax and keep him pain free. Some of that medication has caused him to be more drowsy than usual. I'm predicting that by early next week, all of that will be out of his system and he will be settled in and back on a schedule. Since it was such a beautiful day today, my parents took him outside on the back deck in his wheelchair so he could watch the river roll by.
I still have somewhat of a cough, so trying to keep my distance and have some sibling time with my brother has been a little difficult. However, I felt the need to explain to him why our Mom is at our Dad & Gena's house and why our Grandma Betty is in the living room folding towels. This is a new and interesting experience for all of us. One that we are all adapting to quite nicely, I'll have to say.
Brock came in from Morehead this evening, so the three of us got to be in the same room together for the first time in a month. Its also the first time since Thanksgiving that the three of us have been in a house together... not a hospital. It feels good.

Keep the prayers coming!



  1. I think this was a very good blog. It was very informative and helpful to me and I am sure it will be to others. By knowing exactly what to do and what not to do when visiting Lance will make everyone's time there a lot easier, I believe.
    We should definitely call before planning on a visit too.
    Thanks Chelcee for letting me(us) know the dos and don'ts!

  2. Great blog Chelc! A lot of questions answered! Still thinking of you all daily.
    All my love!
    Sarah P

  3. It needed to be said. Alot of people wouldn't normally be aware of certain circumstances. Well said Chelce.
    Also, I can only imagine the drive to your house. That was so awesome of your neighbors. Prayers will continue~Glenda

  4. Excellent words, Chelcee. Ground rules will help everyone. Prayers are continuing. G. Insko

  5. Not rude and not mean just stating the facts as sometimes needs to be done. Often well meaning friends or family can unknowingly make things more stressful and putting the expectations out there before it happens can save a lot of problems on both sides. I think its great that your so protective of him! Just keep on doing whats best for him he is certainly priority one right now. He may wonder about all the people in the same house right now but I know he can feel all the love around him and that is what is important right now. All those signs! Wow that makes ones heart happy to see. What a great welcome home. as always lance and family you are in our thoughts and prayers..

  6. Chelcee-

    You are doing a beautiful job, and if anyone gives you grief for being mean or controlling, you just send them my way. I'll show them mean and controlling. Wonderful update, hope your cough improves!