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.


Monday, June 27, 2011

c'mon baby, do the locomotion

The past couple of weeks at Cardinal Hill have been wonderful!
Lance has shown great improvement in almost all areas. There are several coma recovery scales that have been used to measure Lance's consciousness. He is now measuring a 4 on the Rancho scale. Some might say that he is awake... I still have faith that there is more emerging to come.

I mentioned before that during speech therapy, not only are they working towards vocalization, they are working on all kinds of communication. Lance has a mouse that can plug into a computer, its a huge mouse. with a baseball size trackball. And left and right color coded buttons. When you ask Lance to roll the trackball up and down, he does. He can also roll is from left to right. When dad ask him to right click, he follows that command. One day last week, he moved a card on a solitaire board using the mouse. He will also mouth not only single words, but phrases. Such as God is Good. and I Love You. He can count from 1 to 10. So even though he can't move the noise up and out, most of us can read his lips.
Yesterday, Ted and Holly Gilbert came to visit him. Ted taught Lance how to play guitar several years ago. Ted, Lance, Brock, Dad and Kevin Angel were in a band called Joyful Racket. Ted played several of their old songs, and when he played How Great is Our God, Lance mouthed almost every word!

After continuous casting on his arms, botox injections and strenuous stretching, I think that the tone has been broken in Lance's arms. He is able to stretch them out almost straight. His left arm still doesn't do as much as the right. But his hand will squeeze yours. and sometimes he will rotate his shoulder while sitting up. Last week, they began pool therapy for Lance. The warm pool water has really helped in many areas. Lance loves to swim, and we get to get in the pool with him.

A couple weeks ago Lance was eating bites of pureed chicken. However, something has caused his swallowing reflex to decrease. We think this may have been caused by the Botox that was administered to the muscles in his arms. In some rare causes, Botox has been known to temporarily paralyze muscles that are involved in swallowing. So, until that effect wears off, we will be only giving him ice chips.

Back in March and April when we were at home, Lance had great strength in his core. He was able to help us stand and sometimes he even wanted to continue to stand. Because of seizures medication and medicine to help with the tone in his arms, that core strength has been lessened over the past several weeks. However, last Tuesday the therapist decided to see how long he could sit on the edge of the exercise mat with his feet on the floor. They were watching their watches closely, hoping he could make it to 30 seconds. Lance sat perfectly still, with zero support for 30 seconds, then a minute. then two minutes. Then... as more of the staff gathered around, he continued to sit. There were calls being made to the insurance company and all eyes were on him, as he sat upright for 20 minutes!

The other big thing is the Lokomat! The Lokomat is a robot.. sort of. Lance is strapped into a harness and is suspended over a treadmill. More straps secure his shoulders and legs, all of this is hooked up to a computer which assist Lance in locomotion therapy. The machine lets Lance move his legs in a walking motion, but will kick in to help if he gets tired. Its a lot like the FES bike he rode when he was in Atlanta. When they tell him to kick harder, or bring his knee up higher, the sensors on his legs show that his muscles are working.
The first time, Lance walked for 15 minutes, 1421 feet. The second day, 26 minutes. and 4373 feet.  I hope all of you can open this video!

Lance is working hard... so, please keep praying for him!!



  1. Way to go, Lance!
    Talk about making some strides!

  2. That is amazing! Great job Lance!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting! PTL! I feel a knot in my throat. I am so happy for Lance and then for the family! DON'T GIVE UP, LANCE, you are not there yet! The Lord is helping you in the same way He's helped and is helping Danny. Reading about Lance's progress looks like I am reading about Danny 5 years ago and he keeps working hard at Beyond Therapy at Shepherd and he is showing more progress, much more progress the last 4 weeks and we PTL for that as well. Hang in there, we are hanging in there with you, Lance and with Danny. He remembers you when he met you and your dad in the cafeteria and we talk about you. Many, many blessings from the Lord is my prayer for you. The journey is loooooooong but don't worry the Lord is in it ALL the time.
    A happy friend in Atlanta, Loida

  4. How wonderful to read of all the progress! How great is our God!!!

  5. What a wonderful posting to end my day with! Thanks. Still praying and thinking of all of you. God is Good !!!!

    Gina Insko

  6. This is amazing! I am going to cry!!! I have been praying for Lance since I found out about his accident. God is working and it is evident! Thank you for sharing with all of us his progress!!! I will continue to pray that he emerges more from the coma. :) Stay strong Lance!! You are doing wonderful!

    Amber Matthews

  7. Steve and I think of Lance each and every day and along with our thoughts we send a prayer. We are pleased Lance is doing so well and we hope with each passing day he will be able to do things that will bring a smile and a happy heart to his family! Lance is tough.....we know he will not give up!!!

  8. thank you sweet jesus for being there beside lance each day and giving him the will to move on .i am not good at this computer but i check each day for i know our lord can make things better for you am praying for you daily and when i read this to night i screamed thank you sweet jesus for all you have done and all you can do with him by your side

  9. God is so Good!!!!! Go Lance!!!!!

  10. I am so happy to read this, my prayers are with all of you...God is so very amazing, thank you sweet Jesus for your healing and wonderful love! So happy for all of you. Dana J.

  11. How Awesome is this....way to go Lance....brings tears to my eyes....
    Juanita Logan

  12. Praise the Lord!!!! Thats so amazing!