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.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I enjoyed the seasons of 24 and watched them more than any TV over past 10 years.  The last 72 hours, since I last blogged, have unfolded much like that series.  The clock ticks off the seconds/minutes in "real" time as we live out this reality which seems more like a nightmare.  Lance was on the ventilator until noon Saturday which was when the 20 hours of continuous EEG monitoring ended.  I have a whole new appreciation for patients who spend long periods on an emergency room stretcher....which is what was wheeled in the room-for visitors use .  (Actually it felt like a Sealy at 4:30 AM.)

He quickly weaned off the ventilator; it had been used only during the heavy sedation that was needed to stop the seizure activity and to monitor the brain waves.  We transferred to the Critical Decision Unit which is one of the intensive care areas of the UK Hospital.  Lance was very unsettled and inconsolable during the next several hours as we awaited diagnosis.  Each real time minute seemed to contain more than the 60 seconds on which our time system is based.  During neurology consults on Sunday morning we were advised that white blood cells in spinal fluid indicated a viral encephaltis.  The physician said that this level of virus, for most of us, would cause little more than a 2-3 day headache.  For Lance, during this healing phase, this was  significant.  Different medical opinions exist; it is known that many patients experience seizures after an acute brain injury.  Lance had been fortunate to be seizure free during this past 5 months and it is possible that scar tissue, in areas where healing is underway, could be a contributing factor.  Regardless of cause, the seizures ceased and did not re-occur over the weekend.  There are multiple medicines for seizure management-some are recent developments  We will do recommended trials, then we will know which medications offer him the best protection  with the least side affects.

Aspiration occurred during seizures and caused lung problems(pneumonia).  This seems to be improving by the hour.  The unpredictable sequalae of the seizure activity is where Lance will be in the next day, week, month.  Tonight, this is a difficult report to share-because of uncertainty.  The good news is that 2 of the neurologists feel that he will return to baseline(where he was last Thursday) in a relatively short period of time.  The scary news is that there is a variety of different outcomes.  As I sit here beside his bed and observe him sleeping soundly, I do not know if it is a post seizure response or .......response to new medications or.......a return to a lesser degrree of consciousness.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) holds multiple consults and these should enlighten us.  We will continue to keep our eyes on Christ  and to know that faith is what we need  to experience miracles in life.



  1. I am keeping your family in my heart and prayers. I know God is still in control. Hugs to all of you. Gina

  2. continued prayers from the McArtor family....

  3. Don't give up, Johnny. He is in control, and will walk the dark hills with you until joy comes in the morning.

  4. Praying for God's healing hands of touch, he is the maker, the creator, alpha omega he is GOD.

  5. Rachel ApplegateMay 3, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    The task ahead of us is never as great as the Power behind us. Praying for you & your family.

  6. I keep praying for Lance. When I read the news last week I felt so bad. Five and a half years ago we had Danny one day looked like we were having a good progress and the next we had to call 911 and back to the hospital. We thank the Lord because he never experience seizures which the doctor told us it could happen but aspiration pneumonia 3 times were our big bumps on the road to recovery and other complications. May the strength that only comes from the Lord be yours and may He give you peace and joy in the midst of this situation, that you may feel His embrace and presence. Lord, I ask of you to touch Lance one more time with your healing touch and continue the work you started in him.
    Still I am hoping to see Lance back at Shepherd.
    Blessings to all.