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, March 16, 2011

road trip

Lance's first full week at home went much better than the last attempt in February... 
Home health comes to see him, the nurse as well as all of the therapies. Gena is here in the morning usually with someone helping her. Then my mom is here for the afternoon shift. My grandmas come to help, and my aunt Sue Jane. I've been trying to help out at night, when I'm not working. My dad has gone back to seeing patients on a semi-normal schedule. Basically, we are just trying to figure out what works for all of us and our schedules and most importantly, Lance. 
On Sunday, Lance was exposed to a normal right after church dinner here at the O'Cull house. All four grandkids running around, food cooking, leftovers being warmed up, other visitors stopping in from church. It was good. and he actually did very well with it all. We have stood him up several more times since the initial time on his birthday. He has done exceptional. He amazes me.... 

So, lets get to the road trip. 
When Lance was discharged from UK on March 4th, the doctors scheduled a couple follow up appointments. The first one was with the Blue Surgery Team on March 15th at 1150am. I thought, oh thats good... that gives us plenty of time to get there. yeah right. 
We recently purchased a van from the McKinney's. Some of you may remember Drew McKinney. He was involved in a very serious accident last year. He fell from Lockegee Rock in Rowan County. After UK, he also went to The Shepherd Center for rehabilitation. Drew is actually walking and no longer needed the handicap accessible van. This worked out great for both of us. He no longer needs it and we were able to get it very quickly. The problem was with all that had been going on lately, we hadn't been able to practice with it. So, on the evening before, my papaw was the guinea pig and climbed in the wheelchair for multiple lifts up into the van.  I was at work... or you know there would have been pictures :)
The plan was to leave at 830. We pulled out at 9. Before we got to Black Oak Market, we realize we forgot something, turned around and we were off again. We only made a couple stops. repositioned... parked. and somehow once we got into the waiting room is was 1145. sheesh. 
Lance is used to being up in the wheelchair for around 6 hours a day. But not 6 hours a time. Usually just 2 or 3 hours at at time. So, at 1:00 I was thinking, he's been up since 830 and he won't be able to lay back down until at least 4... thats almost 8 hours... But as usual, Lance was doing great. and we were the ones worrying. In just a few minutes, his surgeon came in. He feels that Lance will go back to where he was before the bowel-pneumonia-sodium issues. He also thinks that with Lance's activity he doesn't have to be on blood thinners anymore. And then... the big thing. We said, what about this trach? When can it come out? I'm sure many of you remember that we were anxiously awaiting the removal of the trach when we were still in Atlanta. The pulmonologist felt like his cough had diminished and it wasn't the right time. Dr. Chang decided it could come out. and it about 90 seconds, it was gone. Just like that. 
He put a piece of tape over it, told us to have a good day, call him if we had any trouble and we were off. Lance gave us the strangest look. I'm sure it felt very strange for him to not have a tube in his throat. 
The trip home was very rainy, but we made it safely. Since I had worked the night before, I crashed as soon as we got him settled. Mom came up for the evening shift with him. I've checked on him a couple times during the night. He doesn't sleep well when he has to wear his splints on his arms. Hopefully, as his arms stretch that will feel more comfortable to him and he will rest better. 

My cousins, Robbie and Bopper Stenzel are playing in the state tournament today. Lance loves going to the ky state tourny. He actually likes to go, pick a team, buy a team tshirt, sit with their fans, and cheer with them like he lived there his entire life during the game. I probably won't do that. 
I'll just stick with Clark County. 


  1. Sounds like yesterday was a good day. Prayers will continue. Many hugs to all, especially Lance. Gina

  2. Wonderful news. We keep praying for Lance and we check for updates. We celebrate with you and rejoice, we know what every little step means and at the same time they are huge. Blessings to all and keep praying for Lance's quick return to Shepherd!

  3. I am so happy to read about the progress that Lance is making!! I know that you are all super busy with everything, but don't forget to call me if you need me to run some errands, or whatever!! I plan on a visit soon, hopefully Alison can come with me, maybe during her Spring break.
    Continued prayers for you all!!

  4. So happy to hear of further progress! So amazing how everyone In your family is working together for lance! That is wonderful and warms one soul. And they say it takes a village! May God Bless and hold each one of you and keep Lance progressing each day!
    Karen Killen

  5. I had to laugh when I read the part of buying a shirt and sitting in their fans section. Reminds me of my crazy son (ask your mom how crazy). Went with Kyra to a Clark Co. game and ended up in their cheering section. I am happy to hear about Lance's improvement. God is watching over him and is Good All the time. Prayers with your whole family.
    Queenie Truesdell

  6. Always look forward to the posts and updates...Continually praying for Lance
    God will provide