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, May 6, 2011

Next Stop - Cardinal Hill

It's Kentuckyy Derby Eve in room # 879 of the Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky.  The discussion is not about horses or jockeys but about another race.  This race is much longer that the two minute Run for the Roses which Lance had opportunity to attend four times while playing saxophone in the University of Louisville marching band.   Lance is on this incredible race that seems to be more like a coast-to-coast run or an endurance run in Death Valley.  Lance admired individuals who put their bodies through incredible stress while participating in such events.

A week has passed since the day of seizure activity.  Lance received excellent medical care; it was very aggressive management, but what was indicated for the magnitude of the circumstances.  He has had no recurrent seizures - this was important to avoid.  Now the anti-seizure medicines are being titrated so that the control continues without over-medication.  Other concerns have been overcome as his lungs are clear.  Administration of  IV anti-viral meds will continue for several days as viral infection was part of seizure etiology.  

On Wednesday, he and Gena watched a movie - the first hint that he was feeling better.  Thursday brought many good signs as he attempted to form the sounds for "mom" to Jill, listened to Chelcee and Brock on the phone, and blew kisses to his mom and step-mom.  I had the night shift; he and I got some much needed sleep from 10 till 2.  We both were awake when nursing staff entered room at 2:00 AM; then Lance stayed awake..........watching me sleep till about 7:00 AM.  That's when we had first doctor visit of the day.

Since that time Lance has been sleeping and I thought I should give an update to each of you who have followed him during his recovery and have prayed for God's touch and watchcare in his life.  I also want to express my appreciation to all our patients in the dental practice.  These past few months have brought many challenges there.  The patients have experienced rescheduled appointments and often appointments during times that were less than convenient.  When I am at the office I am in a rush as I try to provide consultations and treatment in most efficient manner.  I have less time to talk and that probably makes me aloof; thanks for understanding and thank you for continuing to use our office for your dental care.  I say a major thank-you to each member of our staff as they have walked through this valley with Gena and me.  They have provided much friendship and fervent prayers while tolerating my emotional times and much inconvenience as we constantly modify the schedule.  To Dr. Jill Price - you have been a blessing in so many ways; thanks for stepping up in difficult times.  I appreciate each and every one of you - to say thanks is a huge understatement.

Where is Lance on Friday May 6, 2011?  He (and we) have had a setback.  It is our continued prayer that he will return back to April status quickly.  Arrangement have been made for him to be transferred to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital here in Lexington.  This was not the ticket into rehab for which we had hoped, but it is what is needed at this time.  The staff there will provide 3 hours of therapy each day as they help him bounce back to "pre-setback" level.  Once that happens he will be re-evaluated; following that he may be ready to enter a more aggressive rehab program (6 hours per day) or he may need more time at home for healing.

This is a good place to discuss rehab hospitals; we certainly experienced great treatment at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia and now Lance is about to enter another facility with a national reputation.  The staff at Shepherd were fabulous and the many friends we made while in Atlanta continue to follow and support.   The nice advantages are: Lexington is two hours from home instead of eight and Lance does not have to bounce down I-75 in an ambulance for the 6 hour ride from Lex to Atlanta.  Back in December, as we watched him lay in coma, we anticipated that his next stop would be Cardinal Hill.  However his status at that time made the Shepherd Center the most appropriate choice.  Now the best decision seems to be Cardinal Hill.  The future may include Atlanta, Lexington, or other locations; we certainly hope that God continues to open doors that lead to wonderful opportunities for his recovery.  We put it in His hands.  The move to Cardinal Hill could occur over the weekend - we will wait for the call.  Lance's past certainly was filled with chances to travel and meet new people.  Leave it to Lance to find the one place in Lexington, Kentucky where the word "Cardinal' can be spoken aloud.



  1. I was so thrilled when Christa called me yesterday afternoon...we both wept uncontrollably, which scared my office mates to death. Praise be to the Father that Lance is showing more promise. To thank Him seems so inadequate. Our prayer group at work has been wonderful, and Lance is on prayer lists in several states where my friends have reached out on his behalf. I guess Jill and Gena got an early mother's day present.

    We're all sticking with you and will until Lance's completes his journey.

  2. Continued prayers to Lance and the family. I feel more good things are to come while trusting in our God. Glenda

  3. Been praying for all of you, and requested prayer at church last night. Cardinal Hill was so good with Brandon, I could tell so much difference in him with his therapy. Many of the therapy sessions include the family being present and the staff has a real positive attitude. Dr. Klim is wonderful!

  4. John, your blog update made me a little sad, very enlightened, and made me LOL at the end with the mention of saying the word "Cardinal" out loud. I know Lance will get a big kick out of this blog when he is strong even to read it. Prayers continue for you all. If there's anything we can do on this end to make things a little easier, please know we are here.