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.



~Chelcee




Sunday, November 27, 2011

one year ago...

One year ago this very second, I was laying my bed trying to go to sleep. 
My dad was leading worship at Vanceburg Christian Church, so most Saturday nights he would be on the piano, practicing. Since Lance was home for the Thanksgiving weekend, he was going to play the guitar and accompany dad on stage at church the next morning. 
I can't remember what I had done that day, maybe I had been at work. maybe I had just eaten a lot of turkey. Either way, I was tired and wanted to go to bed early. 
As dad was on the piano, Lance was bouncing around playing his guitar. They were playing and singing Days of Elijah. At the end of the song, it says, 'There is no god like Jehovah" and its repeated about 50 times. 
I remember even after dad quit playing the piano, Lance was still playing his guitar right outside my door and quietly singing over and over... there is no god like Jehovah, there is no god like Jehovah, there is no god like Jehovah.... 
he was probably dancing too, knowing Lance. 
Some of you might be shedding a tear, because you think thats the last time I heard my brother play the guitar and sing. It wasn't.
I heard that song again in church the next morning, Lance playing and singing, maybe even with his shoes off... 
And I've heard him sing those words quite a few times the past couple months. He wasn't standing outside my room, but I was standing outside of his. 

we made the paper! 
Counting Their Blessings - Ledger Independent
Misty contacted us about doing a followup story. She had written about his early stages of recovery and then when he went to Atlanta, this time she wanted a picture and to interview Lance. 
I didn't realize we were going to be on the front page, on Thanksgiving morning! anyway, thanks Misty. :)


Lance can write. 
I remember when we were at the Shepherd Center with Lance, I would hand him a marker and hold a dry erase board out, praying that he would take off writing me a note, telling me his every thought, in his small cursive script. He would hold the marker. he would even twirl it like he always did while holding a pen. He would sometimes put the marker on the board, but then... nothing. well, nothing I could understand anyway. Brock got him to hold a pen and make some marks on a paper one evening. What we think were the makings of an L. However, since then, not so much luck on the writing front... until 10 days ago. 
On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, Lance and I were hanging out at the house by ourselves, I usually have a pen stuck in my ponytail, I leaned over to get something off the floor and it fell out on the couch and Lance reached for it. When I handed it to him, he clicked it on, twirled it around, clicked it off. Then, well, I don't know what he did because I ran into the other room, grabbed the small dry erase board, took my pen, handed him a marker and said, write your name. this is what i got:




So, I screamed, took a picture erased it, and told him to write Brock, then O'Cull, then Chelcee, then Dad, then Mom... it was crazy. I was snapping pictures, texting them to everyone. He didn't need any help spelling, that's for sure. Sometimes he tries to write in cursive. And I think we might need a huge dry erase board, because sometimes his perception on how much room he has is a little off. But nonetheless, it was remarkable! 
here are some more:


























and this above... is 3.14
I asked him what pi was, so you know, he told me. I wouldn't expect anything less. 




We have some adaptive tools to help him be able to use the computer. Yesterday morning, I asked him if he wanted to sign in to FaceBook. I put the laptop in front of him and he very carefully hit every letter for his username. Sometimes his fingers will move when he doesn't want them to, so he might have hit some extra keys. But he knew exactly where they were placed on the keyboard. I was impressed. 


Also... Lance has been cheesing. A lot. All of my life whenever we had family pictures done, I had to hold my smile until Lance and Brock got their act together. They would make funny faces, make sad faces, hide their faces, hide my face, sometimes it would go on for an extended period of time. Not anymore, Lance is the one that's smiling first. 


Chelcee, Luke, Lance, Brock, Shelby, Bethany

Brock, Grandma Betty, Lexi, Chelcee, Lance, Jazz, Ian, Kaylee


So... its been a year. Its been the longest and shortest year of my life. We have been so busy traveling to and from hospitals, to and from therapy. Busy with work, busy with school. Busy doing whatever will make Lance better. So, yes in a way, its flown by. 
However, when I think back to a year ago when he was singing and moving his arms and legs freely on the small stage... his voice strong, his hand writing definite, his random texts showing up on my phone, his footsteps quick, and his jumps high, those things seem far away in my past, but not so far away in our future. 
-Chelcee

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hey guys... Lance, Brock and I have a very dear friend, Bekah who will be traveling to Haiti in March of next year. I've talked to Lance quite a bit about this and we've decided to help sponsor her trip. It's an adventure that Lance would be love to be embarking on himself. Please read this beautiful letter, maybe you will find it in your heart to help as well.






Dear Family & Friends & Others Who Find Themselves Reading This Letter:

God is good.  My life is nothing but blessed.  From the people I am surrounded by, to the school I attend, to the health that I have, to the material goods that I cherish and use everyday.  I absolutely have no need to complain about a thing.  And I am not.  But there use to be something missing in my life.  

Usually when someone says there is something missing in their life, it is God.  Or a spouse.  Or kids.  God...I have.  Spouse...I do not want yet.  Kids...I do not need yet.  This was something deeper.  It was purpose.  It was passion.  I knew God had me where I was for a reason, but the curiosity was killing me, and I was running out of patience in finding what filled this hole in my heart.  

But that missing thing in my life...I found it two and half years ago.

I found it on filthy streets filled with trash and animals and disgust.  I found it in the eyes of a woman who had no way of feeding her children for the next week until she washed my laundry.  I found it sitting in the middle of a orphanage floor with six toddlers playing with my hair and fighting to sit in my lap.  I found it in a silent moment holding a blind elderly man's hand while rocking in rocking chairs.  I found it standing in a brothel looking around at a group of women who held their children who had lost all hope in their future.  I found it in a small church building listening to a city of people praise a mighty God.  I found my passion in a nation that has the most beautiful people who understand what it is to have nothing, but yet have everything.  

Haiti has a part of my heart.  I have no idea why God decided to send me there in June of 2009, but He did, and I will be forever grateful.  Those ten summer days has changed my life in every way.  My perspective of life...of God...of poverty, is completely different.  That trip hit hard.  I felt guilty, ashamed, stupid, uneducated, lost, and like a complete failure.  How did I not know that people lived like that?  Why did I not have faith like these people?

Even though my first trip made me feel absolutely horrible about myself as a human and as a Christian, I had to go back.  I was addicted.  I had to be around those people.  I had to serve them.  After the earthquake in January of 2010, the opportunity arose for a group of us to return in March.  Again Haiti stole more of my heart and I learned more about myself and my God.  After returning once again, I found myself thinking of the country and its people more than I already had before.  They had become my friends.  I was ready to go back and this past March, I did for the third time.

I have been to Haiti three times and I fall deeper in love each time I travel there.  God has taught me about joy, service, and hope - three words I hear everyday here in the States, but have never truly experienced until I walked on the soil of Haiti.  Those people know what it is to have joy when you have nothing else.  They understand that we are called to serve even when you have nothing to offer.  And the Haitians have hope when they have no reason to.  

Here is the point - I love my God.  I love Haiti.  And I will return to serve His people there as many times as He allows.  

In March of 2012, I plan on returning to St. Louis du Nord, Haiti for a fourth time  I am so excited to be able to once again see God's work being done in this Fourth World country.

Not only am I traveling along with a group, but this time I am leading the group.  Yes, I am super excited about this opportunity to lead 34 people on a trip that will completely change their life, but I am also super nervous.  I am beyond humbled and shocked that God is using me to help this group of young people have the opportunity to see what breaks His heart.  It is a huge responsibility, however I know God is going to be with me every step of the way.  

So the bad part - this trip is going to cost $2,136.  Additionally, my trip must be paid off by mid-January.  Yes...that number is big.  But my God is bigger.  And I have seen Him work in some amazing ways to provide and I have no doubt after three different times of having to raise a similar amount, that He will come through in what seems a small amount of time.  

Here is where you come in.  I need help.  I do not have this kind of money.  However, I have been told to return to Haiti once again to serve and to lead a group of people that God has put together to do work for His Kingdom.  I cannot argue with that.  So I very humbly ask that if you can financially support my upcoming trip in any way, I would be beyond grateful.  

I know that not everyone can travel to Haiti...or Africa...or New Zealand...and not all of us need to.  There is mission work that needs to be done right here in our own towns in the United States.  But God's children is not limited to our borders.  Some of us are called to other countries and I have no doubt that I am one of those people.  But I cannot do it alone.  I also know that God uses people like you to help spread His love and HIs truth through your finances. 

If you feel led to help support my trip, you may make a check out to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.  By making your check our to this mission, your gift is tax deductible.  Please send your check to:
Rebekah Bryant
1828 Foxport Road
Wallingford, KY 41093

I must ask of one other favor.  Please keep Haiti, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, my group, and myself in your prayers.  God is sovereign and He listens when His people lift their voices.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about my trip or Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, please feel free to email me at rbryant@kcu.edu or you can go to their website at www.nwhcm.org

For Him,
Rebekah Bryant 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

thankful

I know we haven't been very good at updating this blog lately and for that, I apologize. 


Dad has gone back to seeing patients at least 3 days a week, Brock has been super busy with school and playing in any musical group he can. Mom is working longer hours during the week to be able to take off to stay with Lance. Gena is trying to work a day or two mornings. and I'm back in school and working part-time. And sometime, during the week, we all try to go to a therapy visit with Lance. Gene and Helen Hickle have also been accompanying Gena on many trips to Ashland, Lexington, or Flemingsburg. Also, Chris and Deah. Carol Thomas, Charlie Stapleton and Ben. 
**This just in** I just heard that to distract Lance one day when he wasn't feeling good, Charlie sang Michael Jackson's Thriller. We have great friends. :)


Lance was traveling to Fleming County Hospital for antibiotic therapy to treat a kidney infection, every day for the last 10 days. Since he has finished that treatment, he has made great strides in his cognition and muscle tone. The therapist at Cardinal Hill have been impressed with his continuous hard work of the right leg, while on the lokomat. And more recently, the beautiful firing of the muscles in the left leg! 
Also, Lance has been eating more and more in the past couple of months, and its a good thing, since his feeding tube fell out one day last week. It was been placed back in March, and it seems the bulb had disintegrated. So, we are very thankful for all the beans and cornbread that he has eaten lately!


In other news, my papaw John was diagnosed with cancer around a month ago. After multiple doctors visits, scans, lab work, etc, they decided to start radiation last week. They estimated do to about 25 radiation treatments, then let him rest for approximately 5 weeks, followed by surgery to remove the tumor in the colon. Then, they will re-evaluate and see what's next. Papaw was feeling pretty rough over the weekend. The trips to Lexington have left him tired and weak. They decided to admit him to Fleming County Hospital a couple days ago for pain management and antibiotics. I've been with him all day and He looks better to me than he has in a week. He appears stronger and is, as usual, cracking his hilarious jokes. Probably will be discharged to home tomorrow and he hopes to start back to radiation treatments early next week. 


I know we say this a lot, but our entire family is so very thankful for every single thing our extended family, neighbors, friends and community have done for us. So many people have been so supportive in helping my grandparents get to doctor appointments, bringing them food (which is big since my Grandma is ALWAYS cooking) and even mowing the yard. 
Since the first day of November, everyday, I've been uploading something that I'm thankful for to a facebook album. The way its looking, I may not be able to end at the end of the month. We have so many things to be thankful for.  
My family. we call, we text, we facebook, whatever it takes to get to each other fast and efficient. I'm thankful to have the dad that I have, the mom that I have and the stepmom that I have and the baby brother I have. Together, we have been able to care for Lance almost 24/7. He hasn't been left alone for almost a year. Which brings me to my next thing to be thankful for... Lance. He is alive! He has been one of the most inspirational people in my life. Through all of the therapy, the trips to and from, the admissions, the stretching, the paperwork, the questioning... Lance doesn't act aggravated, he doesn't appear to be mad. He may give us a questionable look every now and then, but for the most part he is very compliant. I think about that whenever I'm complaining about something silly. 


Chelcee's Thankful album < Here is the link for the album, if you want to look at it. but its not finished yet. 


Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! 







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