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, June 15, 2011

3 More Weeks...

So, Lance has been at Cardinal Hill since May the 11th. He has been making great progress and the insurance has approved for him to stay 3 more weeks! 
Lets start with Speech. 
  -They are awesome. He likes Gretchen. and she is very patient and is as determined as we are that Lance will communicate!
  -When he was at house back in March and April, I was giving him ice chips and he was doing well with chewing and swallowing those. As well as some bananas. Once he had the seizures, he had to go back to a nothing by mouth status until we were sure his swallowing was up to par. So, a couple weeks ago, he had sort of a modified-modified barium swallow. His swallow was in fact, good. However, he manipulation that he needed to get the food to the back of his mouth needed some work. They advanced him to a pureed diet. Within a couple days, he was back to taking bites of mashed up fruit. He even tried eggs for breakfast and chicken for lunch. Sometimes, with medicine timing, he gets very sleeping and its hard to keep him alert for mealtimes. 
  -On Monday, Lance met all of her goals for the next week. He can visually choose between 2, then 3, and now 4 items based on their function. We, of course know that Lance knows that a cup is for drinking, a toothbrush for brushing and a phone calls people. However, getting him to look and hold his gaze on that object is an accomplishment! 
  -One day last week when I was with Lance was the first time that I felt like I knew exactly what he was trying to say. I have felt like Lance has understood what we have been saying to him for months now. But, the other day when I knew exactly what was hurting, it was a completely overwhelming feeling! Even though some of the meds make him very groggy, he has been doing an excellent job at consistently answering yes/no questions with one finger or two. Its wonderful to be able to know if he wants to listen to more music or watch tv or go outside. :)
  -Today when Brock was with him, they were trying to figure out what kind of mouse would work the best for him so he could work a computer. Lance tried a mouse laying on his chest and then a handheld mouse, to move cards from one side of the screen to another. I'm pretty exciting to see this tomorrow. 
  -Lance has also been working on lots of tongue and lip exercise, which will help him in mouthing words and forming sounds. One day with therapy is was able to count to five on his fingers and mouth one through five! He will also make some new noises, like clearing his throat. 
Occupational/Physical Therapy.
  -I'm sure most of you know, Lance has a lot of tone in his arms. He isn't contracted, but he is very tight. They casted his arms and legs when we were in Georgia, that seemed to help quite a bit. However, when he gets sick (bowel obstruction, sodium imbalance, seizure) the wearing of the splints goes out the window. At Cardinal Hill, they started casting again, after his 2nd round with botox. More range was gained with this casting than before, so he know has bivalves again. He doesn't like them much, but we tell him, they will help him in the long run. 
  -The medicine they have put him on act like muscle relaxers. Which greatly impairs his ability to stand. When we were at home, I was moving him from the bed to the chair without any trouble because he would stand straight up. Now, he has some trouble with that. He will stand in a standing frame, where he is strapped in securely. They have also put him in a lift to simulate walking. I haven't been there to see this, so I can't really explain it very well. 

As always, we can begin to express the kindness and support of our community. We continue to feel this every single day. When we walk in to the post office or the grocery store, the prayer sayers shine through. 

Please keep Tom Ginn in your prayers. He has has a tough week, but from what I understand is home from Cleveland Clinic. Also, the Bertram family. Ann Dudley Bertram passed away on Saturday. 



  1. So Happy to hear about Lance's progress! We still think about Lance and your family daily and as always you all are in our thoughts and prayers!!

  2. so glad to hear great news about Lance, praying everynite for progress. The red LIVE the Lion bracelet will not come off till he talks!!

  3. alhamdoulilah like we say! m so happy for the progress Lance is making! i know what ur talking abt when speaking abt seizures! my sis after the intra cerebral bleeding had them, and after them she cant talk or eat we had to feed her mashed food with a seringe, i know she will be fine and iam sure that she will be back the way she was healthy same with Lance, he will make it and be have a new great life. m praying for them! Lance i love u !!