Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thoughts on becoming a Bulldog.....Officially!

Hail dear old state fight for that victory today.  Hit that line and tote that ball, cross the goal before you fall.  And then we'll yell, yell, yell, yell, for dear old state we'll yell like H-E-L-L!  Fight for Mississippi State, win the game today! Go State!

It's the end of May and of course that is the time that everyone starts to think about graduation.  This is a time where dreams come true for students and teachers alike.  For high school students, we see them leave away from a familiar place that for the most part they can't wait to get behind them.  For college students, we see new adults finally enter into the real world armed with knowledge, experiences, and hopefully a job.  Tomorrow is the last day that I will have my current seniors in class before graduation.  It is bitter sweet.  I am sad to see this group go, but also very happy to see where they go from here.  Graduation is one of those events that anyone dislikes attending unless he or she is involved.  Graduations are long, the room is usually crowded and hot, there is always a speaker that talks too much, and you are really only there to see one person walk across a stage, which takes a total of 20 seconds.  But this saturday I will attend a graduation.  My graduation.  One that has been literally years in the making.


I have loved Mississippi State University since I was able to think.  Some of my first experiences as a child were attending MSU baseball games at Dudy Noble Field.  My first stroller was maroon.  My family drove a large maroon and grey van with a license plate that said, "MSU VAN."  The only cups that I drink out of at home are MSU stadium cups.  I have one whole stack of maroon t-shirts in my chest of drawers.  I have multiple cowbells.  My dog owns a maroon jersey.  Have I painted a picture yet?

But this love of MSU is way more than this last paragraph.  My grandfather grew up at MSU, where his dad taught in the poultry department.  He lived in Old Main, the large men's dormitory on campus.  My parents met at MSU at the Cobb Institute of Archeology.  My sister met her husband there, while playing ultimate frisbee.  My family has season football tickets next to our dear friends the Akins, who also go to church with us.   Every year during Super Bulldog Weekend we meet up with our friends the Cliftons, who have been fellow Bulldog fans and friends for years.

MSU was a place where I bonded with my family over football tailgating, basketball victories, bowl game trips, and baseball afternoons.  I have watched seasons of football where we could barely come out with a win.  I have seen years where our basketball team could hardly be stopped.  I have sat through pouring rain just to watch us lose the Egg Bowl.  I have seen us keep that golden Egg only a week before I found out that I had cancer.

The funny part about this story is that I am not a MSU graduate.  I have never taken a class on campus.  I could not tell you where to go if you were a freshman and needed to know where all the chemistry classes were.  But part of that will change Saturday.  I started taking online classes for a Masters in Business in the summer of 2011.  Now in Spring of 2014 I will graduate from the Distance MBA program at MSU with a 4.0 GPA.  I took my capstone class through the midst of chemotherapy treatment.  I cannot tell you how happy I am that this is finally happening.  I am going to sit at graduation just like the rest of the graduates that actually took classes on campus, but I promise you, I will love that moment more.

A few things that I have learned besides finance, management, and marketing from MSU:

1. The rules of football, basketball, and baseball.  Taught by: Joel Yelverton - my dad.  Lessons were learned in the stands or at home watching away games.  He taught me how to look beyond the game and see the intricacies of each sport, developing in me a true love of the game.

2. How to show great sportsmanship.  Taught by: Cheryl Yelverton - my mom.  Lessons were learned while watching my mom take wins with respect and loses with equal dignity.  She has never yelled at an opposing fan and when those Arkansas fans pig sooey in her face, she just walks on by.  That is a good fan.  She congratulates the winners and does not flaunt the victories.

3.  How to always be positive.  Taught by: Terry Akin - my friend.  Lessons were learned during terrible football, basketball, and baseball seasons.  Terry is the son of our friends the Akins, who I mentioned earlier.  He had down syndrome, but that surely never slowed him down.  He was and still is the biggest MSU fan I have ever known.  Every terrible season of football we would look down the row to Terry and he would just make a motion with his hands like shooting a basketball or swinging a bat.  He was saying, "don't worry we have another sport coming up, this season may be over and done, but just let's wait and see what's next."  We all miss him.

4.  How to keep calm in the midst of a highly intense game.  Taught by:  Griffin Sullivan - my brother.  Lessons were learned during overtime periods.  Griffin joined our family in 2012 when he married my sister Becca.  The Yelvertons are not known for watching a MSU sporting even quietly.  Griffin joined our family and showed us how to remain calm, even when yelling at the television, field, Blue, etc. seems like the only answer.

5.  That MSU is more than sports, it's family.  Taught by:  Becca Yelverton - my sister.  Lessons were learned watching my sister interact with her friends made during her years at MSU.  Becca graduated from MSU in 2012, but the friends and connections she made there are still going on today.  It was through her college experience that I saw MSU as a place where students grow not only in academics, but also in connecting with the people around you.

6.  How to teach others to love MSU.  Taught by: Carly Yelverton - my wife.  Lessons were learned sharing with Carly the things I am sharing with you.

So basically this has been a love letter to Mississippi State, but it is also a big thought about education.  Here is what I mean:

"Education is not about obscure facts and little test scores.  Education is about the overall effect of years of slow absorption of concepts, philosophies, and approaches to problem solving.  The whole process is so grand, all encompassing that it really can't be threatened by the occasional late night  no-hitter."  - George Feeny

So go out there and enjoy life.  Have fun.  And also learn a little bit too.

Journey Strong and Hail State!








Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bryce Yelverton you just defeated cancer, what are you gonna do next?

"David said to the Philistine, 'You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head.  This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands.'"
 - 1 Samuel 17:45-47

I have already mentioned that David is probably my favorite person in the Old Testament.  I relate to him the most.  And this passage is one of my favorites as well.  It has been my passage throughout this cancer journey.  Today was a day just like any other, except today I was told that my body is cancer free.  I can't really describe the feeling of relief that came with that news.  Yesterday I had another scan and got to enjoy some premium Barium Sulfate (Berry flavored!!), and I know that it wasn't just me that was on pins and needles waiting for the news.  Carly and I just sat in the cancer clinic and just cried.  They were tears of relief and tears of joy.  I want to explain how I felt today just as well as I have conveyed my previous encounters, but I really can't.  However, I do want you to know these two things and they come straight from the passage above.

1.  God did this healing.

2.  Modern medicine is amazing.

First of all David claimed that the Lord was going to use him to defeat the Philistines and that the battle was the Lord's.  Then David used earthly weapons, a sling and stones and then a sword to defeat Goliath and cut off his head.  In today's world people cry out to God in the most dire times, but when healing comes they like to thank science for the miracles.  The thing with me is I know God healed me. It is through Him that I had this positive attitude and it is through Him that I have been able to write all these words for people to read.  Modern medicine truly works for Hodgkin Lymphoma.  The chemotherapy killed my body, but my body is completely back to normal (plus a few pounds).  That is incredible.  See David used earthly things to defeat the Philistines and the doctors and nurses used earthly medicines to heal my cancerous body.  However, I know and I claimed before this all began that this battle was the Lord's and He has done so many incredible things through this journey with me and the people around me.  Now that I am at this crossroads, there is no way I would change the fact that I had cancer.  Through this time, I have learned so much about myself, my spouse, my family, my church, my friends, my not-so-friends, the body of Christ, and the character of God.  I would never wish chemo on my worst enemy, and yet I would never trade my experience for anything.

Next we meet with the Radiation specialist in a few weeks and get radiation underway.  But the cancer is out of my body and in remission.  

So you might be wondering now what?  Is this the end?  No more blog?  No more struggles?  Happily ever after?  (In light of the NFL Draft) Well Bryce Yelverton you just defeated cancer, what are you gonna do next?



No, I am not going to Disney World...but I am going to Disneyland!!!

That's right!  Carly and I will be traveling to California on August 1st to go on my dream vacation.  We will be traveling with Adventures by Disney to Hollywood and Anaheim for a week of backstage tours!  We will visit Hollywood, the Jim Henson Studios, the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering (yeah I know!!!), and of course have backstage tours of Disneyland and California Adventure.  I truly cannot wait to go and celebrate being cancer free!

So what is next?  Yeah I mean, I can't just sit around.  So I have a few things going on.  First of all, my blog has been a lot of fun and I want to expand out a bit.  In March I joined a blogging group called the Magical Blogorail.  It is a group of Disney focused bloggers so that might explain my random blog comparing the Frontierland in WDW and Disneyland.  I will blog with them every few months.

ALSO, I have embarked on a new side career.....being a travel agent.  That's right, I am now working with my long time travel agent, Jana Smith and her company Main Street Travel.  The name might give it away, but I am now a Disney travel agent and can book your upcoming Disney vacation for you.  I am also free!  And trust me I am worth the money!  I will be posting much more about that off the blog, but I wanted to announce it here!  So if you want a no obligation quote to Disney (or just about anywhere else), email me at Bryce@mainstreettravelco.com.  Also I'll be starting a new travel blog just for that Disney obsession, but more on that later.

Now for the big news.  I know you thought all this was enough, but remember I have hinted at big things coming to this blog?  I was really thinking about where I would go after the chemo was done.  Surprisingly the answer came from my father.  When my dad went through chemo and Hodgkin Lymphoma a very kind man sponsored my father in a marathon in San Diego.  He ran for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or LLS.  Now my dad wants to return the favor to me.  A few months ago, my dad told me he is running a half marathon in my honor.  And what better race to run than the Disney World Half Marathon in January!


Well I can't let him have all the fun without me, so I am running too!  AND so is my family!  We are running with LLS and TNT or Team in Training.  

The best part is.....you can help too!  We have already started raising money for our team.  All the money we raise will go towards blood cancer research and getting us to the actual race in Orlando on January 10th.  So what can you do?  Well at the very max you can join our team!  Email me at yelverto@gmail.com for details or my mom at cheryl.yelverton@gmail.com.  Also you can check out the team in training website at http://www.teamintraining.org/  

My personal goal is $2900 and any money that runs over that will flow to my teammates.  Here is where you can donate towards my goal. http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/wdw15/byelverq9b.  Every little bit helps no matter how big or small.

Also this weekend, my sister Becca and brother in law, Griffin will be at the Clinton Brick Street Market selling some great home made items and all the proceeds will go to our team.
Also the best part is our team name.....The Yelverteers.  That's right, you can come run with the Yelverteers and run along side not one, but two lymphoma survivors!
So that's where the journey is going readers.  Paying it forward.  After going through chemo, I want to make it where no one has to have that horrible stuff pumped into them.  So we are raising money for research to help make that happen.  Also I need to loose like 10 pounds.........

With that I am going to go celebrate.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Journey Strong.