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.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

November 28th to August 28th

Today marked 9 months since that fateful day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the day the world turned upside down.  Putting that in perspective, it is the same time an expectant mom would wait as she carried and nurtured the child developing inside of her body.  I guess we inpatient males could never have survived that mission of love; for me this has been a long nine months.  Today was a special day as Lance attended worship service at Vanceburg Christian Church for the first time since his accident.

The past month has gone well as Lance makes progress through 4 outpatient therapy visits per week-3 in Ashland and 1 in Lexington.   His therapists are so special and we appreciate each one; thanks to Amy, Ryan, Leslie, Lacey, and wow Susan, you are so very special to us.  During these visits he gets speech, occupational, and physical therapy.  He continues to be treated for muscle tone-a common problem for patients like Lance.  It is improving.  We are seeing movement in the left leg; I praise God for this ,after watching it lay still for 8 months.  He can move his right arm/hand much better now and has been eating much more in the past week.  One of his favorite things has been fresh peaches from the orchard. 

Communication has improved also.  We have been surprised at his memory of the past: people, events, important numbers(such as social security number).  It is wonderful when he expresses his own thoughts.  I had taped a Ben Harper concert and we were watching it Monday evening.  I paused it and Gena asked if he was ready for shower; without moving his eyes away from the TV he said "Maybe later."  We laughed and watched the concert in its entirety.

Thursdays are for Cardinal Hill; we often run into old friends there as Lance takes his "walk" on the lokomat, supervised by Shelby.  Always as the van goes through Lexington, he watches out the window and takes in the familiar sites.  He seldom sleeps as we travel and has tolerated the many miles well.

Back to church.......we had discussed church attendance a few times but it was evident that it was a troubling topic for Lance.  Three weeks ago, on a Friday evening, we drove to Vanceburg Christian and went inside.  Ed and Teresa Bryant were there and we visited with them for a few minutes. Then Lance and I went to the back of the sanctuary and paused behind the back pew as we gazed toward the stage.  After a couple of minutes Lance became very emotional.....and cried out.  I'm not sure what was going on in his heart during those moments but I know that God was there comforting Lance.  I believe Lance felt Him then and that God has made His presence known to him on this journey; I look forward for Lance to be able to tell us about that part of the story.  What did Lance remember as he looked over the pews to the front of the room?  Was it the beautiful stained glass?  (One of my favorite scenes is Jesus holding a small lamb....just like He holds us when we are frail.)  Did he recall plays in which he had participated?  Did he recall being behind the pulpit when one of the shortest sermons in history was shared, by him?   Could he have been thinking about playing music in worship?  This was one of his loves and he had stood on that very stage and played his bass guitar to the Lord just seven hours before the crash. 

Whatever happened that night, I figure Lance knew best - it wasn't time for him to attend.  I continued to raise the question 2-3 times per week and each time the answer was negative.....until this past week.  I asked multiple times, to be sure I was not getting the wrong impression; each time the answer was yes.  I am thankful tonight that Lance had followed Christ and accepted His grace.  The Comforter, I know, will be there meeting his needs from this day forward.



  1. What a wonderful posting to finish my day with ! Tears are flowing as I try to imagine the joy you had with Lance in church today. God has blessed each of you during this time and will continue the blessing as time goes forward. Hugs to all. Gina Insko

  2. I turned on my laptop and could not wait to read the blog posted!!! So much emotion filled my soul!! I remember Lance when he was in Cardinal Hill, as he and my son Chris were room mates for a couple of weeks..Lance and his family are so inspiring to me..The progress Lance has made is a miracle from God!! I wait with anticipation for each blog of wonderful news about Lance and his road to recovery!! I will continue to pray for him and family!! I pray for strength, comfort and his blessings on each of you!!! BE BLESSED AND TAKE CARE!!! Your friend, Vickie Parrett..Hugs to each of you...

  3. The emotion I am feeling is overwhelming. I am so thankful that you posted this. I needed it to remind myself that my petty problems are just that, petty. God bless you, John.
    I am so happy that Lance made it to church. I just wish I could have seen it, but I know our church felt the amazing spirit of Lance during that time.

  4. God is good. I can only imagine the reaction of the people at church yesterday when they saw Lance. Just confirmation their prayers over the past 9 months are being answered. Thanks so much for the update. Thoughts and prayers continue for you all. ~Anita

  5. What a journey for you all Lance never ceases to amaze!! I am so over joyed to hear each part of the journey and the amazing progress! Thanks for keeping us posted and as always our thoughts and prayers are with you.....

  6. This is truly beautiful! Keeping you and the family in my prayers! I know God has a plan for Lance in all of this and when it is revealed, it will be such a sight to behold! For now though, I am in agreement with petty problems are just petty too!

  7. I praise God for answered prayers. I have prayed that Lance would hear the Lord through all of this and I believe he is. He will have a sweet testimony to share, for the glory of God. Actually, Lance is already sharing it through his expressions. All praise to God. Blessings, Kathy Orner

  8. Oh my gosh, each blog gets better and better. God is so so good. Thank you sweet Jesus for all of Lance's improvements! Glenda

  9. I have followed the blogs since they were started. I have never talked to Lance but I have known his family for a long time.
    Since the accident , I've prayed and prayed for his recovery. I can't imagine what you John, Jill, Chelcee and Brock and other family members have went through. John, this blog blesses my heart, as I know it has others. God has been with Lance and will continue to be there right along beside him until he is fully recovered from the accident. Thank you all for keeping us informed on one of our own. That's how I feel when our kids have went to school with other kids in Lewis County. Praying daily for each one of you and especially Lance.

  10. This has been an amazing journey for all who care for Lance. I am touched each time I eargerly check the blog for updates. God continues to show us much more than we could ever imagine in the smallest details of life. Prayers for all of you.

  11. God brought Lance to our minds today and we paused to pray for him.

  12. I am so touched by the grace extended to Lance by God. Amazing miracle is not even close to how to describe this journey. Our family continues to pray for healing, strength, and an abundance of joy as you move forward. We don't know what God has in store but we know it will be AWESOME!