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, December 7, 2011

Peace....and Strength

2011 Thanksgiving weekend was much different than 2010; I guess we are changed forever as people and events affect change around and in us.  This year, as the weekend ticked by, I could recall most every hour from Thanksgiving last.  There were similarities as well as stark contrasts.  Thanksgiving Day included a visit to my mom and dad's in Tollesboro. Dad is in a battle with colon cancer that has been diagnosed about 3 months.  I have wondered what role the stress that we have endured in the past year has played in dad's disease process.  Lance made this trip; when dad and Lance are together it is interesting to watch.   These two men are much alike in many ways - both are well read and can recall/discuss materials that were reviewed at anytime in their respective pasts.  Both have mathematical minds and love a wide variety of music genres.  Both can make a dollar go farther than the rest of us could imagine.  When Brock is in the room, the three most important men in my life are assembled.  On that day as dad and Lance held hands and gazed into the other's face, I realized that two of the three main men in my life are down.  "Dear Lord, I pray for Your strength."

On Black Friday we had nearly 30 gathered at our house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was fun, but different than 2010.  Dad didn't feel up to attending, sister Kim stayed with him.  Lance is in a wheelchair; last year he ran 7 miles before we sat sown to eat.  Things change.....sometimes alot in a year....sometimes alot in a second.  During this weekend two of my wonderful boyhood and lifetime friends are hospitalized - Mike Ginn and Bill Barbour.  "God, please send me Your peace."  I need something that passes understanding cause I cannot figure it all out.

On Saturday and Sunday, I spent lots of time with Lance and enjoyed every minute.  The weekend counted down the same as when I drive the road between Vanceburg and Morehead - as the miles click by my heart pounds, as Poe described in the Pit and the Pendulum.  As I got closer and closer to the Sunday evening anniversary of the crash, I figured others could hear the violent pounding in my chest.  I did have one total meltdown on Friday night; it was a time much like old times, with lots of people in the house staying over.   Grandkids were watching movies - Maddie, Noah, and Peyton with Gena and Chelcee - Grant with Brock and Sarah,  Lance was asleep.  I crashed in bed for an hour and a half - laying on a tear-soaked pillow, knowing what blessings and heartbreak really mean.  "Thank you Lord for teaching me so much in the past year - thanks for putting around me people filled with Your love, Your compassion."

Monday, the 28th; this is the actual anniversary of Lance's second life.  On this day I accompany dad for medical consultations in Lexington; it is a long, dark, rainy day and the reports are as dismal as the weather.  Since this day Kim, Luke, Shelby, Christa, Chelcee, Mary, and I have taken turns staying the night with mom and dad.  "Please Lord, Keep reminding me to 'Fear not!'"

On November 29 Lance made his regular pilgramage to Lexington for Lokomat walking therapy.  That night he sat at the kitchen table and ate chili and a grilled cheese sandwich while seated in a regular chair.  This was a first time accomplishment and a huge feat.  For me.......I recall 11-29-10 as I watched his broken and swollen body in a hospital bed.  There was so much equipment I could not even be close to him.  The respirator was inflating his lungs as we, full of fear, watched monitor readings: intercranial pressure, heart rate, blood pressure, so much more that I did not understand.

The following Saturday, Lance had his longest day since the crash.  During the morning hours we listened to LCHS Jazz Band play and attended breakfast with Santa.  During the afternoon Lance visited with Pappaw John, then returned home for standing therapy and a shower.  The evening event was traveling to Morehead to listen to Brock as he and the Celtic Band of the MSU Traditional Music Program performed at hometown holidays.  "Thank you Lord for blessings abundant.  Thank you for this season which commemorates your great gift to mankind - Jesus Christ.  We are forever grateful for the grace He each of us who accept the gift."

Daniel 10:19 "The angel said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not!  Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!"    The angel, the voice of God is still saying that to me........and to you.



  1. I can feel your pride and your pain as I read your words John. May God give all of you peace, healing, and comfort. Merry Christmas.

  2. ...praying for all of your family...

  3. Your family is my prayers and thoughts. I celebrate with you each moment of progress and pray for your strength through the tough seasons.

    The minister at my church recently had a message that told the number of times fear not is mentioned in the least 365 times. I supppose our heavenly Father knew how many times we needed to hear this and to know that He is listening!

  4. Hello John,

    I'm glad that the three of you still give regular updates on Lance's progress. I still check the blog about twice a week hoping for any new updates! I'm glad to hear that he's still making so much progress. So much has happened in a years time! I hope I'm able to make a visit over Christmas break. Tell Lance I said hello -