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, April 29, 2011


Today is April 29 which is sandwiched between two memorable days.  One year ago tonight Lance and I went to Louisville and checked into a downtown motel after I picked him up at the Lexington home he and Patrick shared.  The next morning Lance completed a marathon in his first attempt.  Good memory!

Yesterday, April 28th, marked the 5th month anniversary since Lance was injured.  Sunday, November 28th; I'll not soon forget that day.  It was the longest...and worst day of my life.  Bad memory!  In the wee hours of the 29th, as we sat tired and numb in a Chandler Medical  Center waiting room,  I recalled great moments with Lance.  I savored his smile and his hugs but confidently knew that if his life were to end tonight in this hospital, he would be moving to a better place - an eternity with God. 

Today, we are once again in Lexington, preparing to spend the night at UK Chandler Med Center.  Lance has had a restless week; we watched him closely each day hoping that this was just some "emerging" behavior.  Yesterday evening he was so engaged, so interactive, as we helped him prepare for the night.  It seemed he would break out in conversation any second.  I held my breath a couple of times as he was obviously trying to verbally share thoughts that were in his mind.  I went to bed thinking "Tomorrow we may make some memories in this recovery process!"

Gena and I checked on him first thing, as we do each morning.  We found him sweating profusely, even though  house temperature was about 66 degrees.  Then, as we attempted to cool him down, something happened for first time.  Lance experienced a seizure.  It ended a long 90 seconds later; we heaved a collective sigh of relief.  However a few moments later, the seizure activity started again.  We called ambulance and Chelcee helped as we prepared for quick departure.  I rode in the ambulance to Fleming County Hospital where we were greeted by friends and wonderful health care workers led by a very caring man named Dr. Carrera.  Enroute the medical crew, Brent and Larry, took great care of Lance.  After stabilizing him there and running some diagnostic tests, he was transferred to our current location.  Another fine paramedic, William,  provided the hands on care in the transport ambulance.

Lance has been treated in the ER since our arrival.  This is where he will be treatd overnight; the remodeled ER is very nice and the staff has been wonderful to Lance and to us.  His room is more like an ICU room than a typical ER room   The seizure activity stopped with medicines; he has EEG leads in place to continuously monitor brain activity overnight.  Since this was a serious first time event, neurology has been very proactive in trying to get answers.  A lumbar puncture was done to collect cerebrospinal fluid and test for meningitis.  Clinical appearance of the fluid was favorable but final determination will be made with lab work/cultures.  In the meantime he is being treated prophylacticaly with antibiotics.  Also, Lance was intubated and is being breathing assisted with a ventilator.  This sounds scary but should be a short term treatment with the expressed intent of monitoring brain activity while keeping him sedated and totally seizure free after having much seizure activity since the day began.

As I conclude tonight, I am humbled by each of you, your prayers, and memories......your memories that continue to keep Lance presented to God daily in prayer.  I thank you and challenge you to make a memory with someone you love.  Don't delay.



  1. Johnny and family,
    Lance continues to be in our thoughts and prayers, as well as all of you. We are thankful for the technology that allows us to be a part of your journey and for the encouragement that your and Chelcee’s words bring through this blog.



  2. I too pray for Lance and your family daily. Being in the Nursing field I understand many of the medical aspects of his injuries.
    Sometimes, and hopefully this time, there are simple causes of certain conditions that are so simple in fact,we may overlook them.
    The first thing that came to mind after reading about the seizure activity was dehydration. I'm unaware what method by which Lance is getting fluids on a daily basis but like all the rest of us, he needs plenty of them. Lack of Fluids can and will cause manifestation of seizure activity, constipation, organ failure etc.... Many times it's caught before any damage has occured. A seizure can be one of the warning signs, along with poor skin turgor, jaundice etc.....
    I am retired now but have seen alot over the past 30+ years.
    I'm praying that Lance's eeg results are negative and that there's an easy fix to this new problem.
    With so much going on, I know you all must be at your witts end but God is in Control. I think you've all done a Wonderful job providing the love, care and most of all The Faith needed for this journey in your life right now.
    I have the utmost Respect for each and every one of you and will continue to pray for all of you daily.
    May Our Father God hold you in His loving and tender arms and provide you with His Healing Touch, Strength, and His UnDying Love.
    In Jesus Most Precious Name,

  3. Praying for Lance!! Think about him and your family daily!

  4. Courage Does Not Always Roar
    By Paula Fox

    When life gets you down and the problems you face are certainly more than your share...
    When you run out of strength and you want to give up because it's just too much to bear...
    I want to remind you, my precious friend, that you have what it takes inside...
    extraordinary courage that may not roar but it doesn't cower and hide
    It's the quiet voice inside you that says, "Tomorrow I'll try again."
    It's the courage to keep on going... to see things through to the end
    You are not defined by this moment in time. You are not what has happened to you
    It's the way you choose to respond that matters and what you decide to do
    Courage is not the absence of fear, but a powerful choice we make...
    the choice to move forward with purpose…regardless of what it takes
    It's the courage that's found in ordinary men who are heroes in their own way,
    exhibiting strength and fortitude in life's challenges every day...
    Valiant men of exceptional courage with enduring power to cope...
    taking each problem one day at a time and never giving up hope.
    We're encouraged by the faith of others to survive and overcome,
    with the courage to say, "I may be down...but the battle is not done!"
    For the man of courage is a winner... regardless of what he loses
    He displays amazing beauty and strength with the attitude he chooses
    He gives himself the permission he feel disappointed or sad.
    But then he empowers himself with focus on good things...not bad
    His story is one of gentle strength reminding us all once more...
    Steel is sometimes covered in velvet and...courage doesn't always roar

    Dear Lance and family, I read part of this poem on a facebook post and looked it up. It was written for a woman, but I just changed it for a man. It says a lot of what I feel about the battle that you are all fighting. I pray for a victory soon. All my love and prayers, Marilyn.

  5. We are praying for Lance and his entire family. We wish for a full recovery soon.
    Mel and Carrie

  6. Thoughts and prayers continue for Lance and for all of you. My heart ached when I read this latest update; but, I know we will rejoice again soon when Lance is back home and back on the road to recovery. Stay strong and know you are not alone in this journey.