Try not to judge me too harshly with my lack of blog posting. And I would promise to get better but I know you don't like to be lied to. So in that case I shall recap the wild year 2011 has been for us.
January- At the end of 2010 we found out that Derek's cancer was back. So in January, after tons of testing and scans, Derek started chemo again. He was not happy to say the least but can you blame him? We decided that I should continue to go to school so I started my second semester at ASU (and did awesome, just thought you would like to know). It has been almost year since then so my memory may be fuzzy (or I purposely blocked it out, who knows?) but I don't think anything else happened in January. Here are some pictures of Camden in January.
February-In February, Derek started losing his hair:
Pretty wicked. He eventually just shaved it because it was grossing me out that he pulled out huge chunks out of a time.
In February we also celebrated Derek's fake birthday. His birthday is February 29th so on non-leap years we have to pretend like his birthday is on the 28th. We had a small little family get together for it.
I surprised him with the most awesome gift, an ipad! Jealous?!
And no, that is not a homeless man holding that Ipad, that is Derek.
March- In march I had a big wedding that I did. It was a lot of fun and I got to experience some flowers that I have never worked with before. I think the arrangements turned out great and the bride and groom were quite happy.We also did our annual spring break Disneyland trip. We went for 3 days. My sister and Josh (our neighbor and my sister's then-boyfriend) accompanied us for the best trip we have EVER had at Disneyland. It was seriously so much fun.
April-In April we did our second Relay for Life that is run by the American Cancer Society. During the cancer survivor walk, Derek took Camden with him. Camden thought all the applause was for him.
We did a Beach pier carnival. Camden and I posed for a picture.
We had a great time and raised over $2000 for the American Cancer Society. Boo-yah!
In April I also turned 24. No pictures were captured to document this momentous occasion. Sadly, the day was spent in class and I barely remember that day. All well.
At the end of the month we joined Marlena and Rochelle on a hike.
The young cousins got to hang out.
The kids learned what to do if they come upon a snake and how to make sure they stay hydrated. It was a lot of fun.
May- In May we went to the Ward camp out. We love our ward (a lot!) and wanted to be more involved so we made an extra effort to go.
Camden ate lots of dirt and eventually sneezed out a giant rock.
There was a boat racing contest.
We lost. And by lost I mean we epically failed. But it was a blast.
This is also the month where Camden became the notorious menace on society known as Sticker Head!
He just radiates evil, right?
June- June was a special month for us. First, we started having mysterious drawings appear on everything.
The culprit is still at large.
Camden also got to enjoy a birthday party for his friend Madden.
He had lots of fun bouncing around and enjoying the company of all the little kids.
Then on June 11th, my brother got baptized!
He asked Derek to baptize him.
And asked Jordan and I to speak at his baptism.
If you didn't know, that completes the Walls siblings. Just 5 days shy of my 5 year baptism anniversary my last sibling joined. That is pretty rad if you ask me.
July- July was an excellent month. First, Derek had a PET scan and the scan showed that his cancer was ALMOST gone. He was super close to remission and we were so happy. We could not wait to get on with our lives.
Next, our baby boy turned 2! We had a birthday party for him at Desert Breeze Park's Splash Pad.
Lots of friends and family came out to celebrate with us.
On his actual birthday we took him to the Disney store and he got to pick out a gift. Naturally he picked a stuffed Buzz and Woody from Toy Story. We had a little get together for the grandparents.
Camden did get his 2nd year pictures done by Ashlee Gibson again. They turned out AMAZING and proved how awesome Ashlee is and how my child is truly baby model material.
In July, Derek also got called to be the Sunday school president in our ward. He likes this calling and does a great job at it.
August- In August we had a sobering appointment with Derek's transplant doctor. In July we had found out that his cancer was almost gone and that a bone marrow transplant would give him a chance to be cured. We were pumped and ready to go. But at this appointment we found out all the scary dangers with this type of transplant. The doctor (unfortunately) listed all the many ways Derek could die from this type of transplant (bedside manner isn't great, but she is the best). The transplant could cure him of cancer only to kill him from some terrible effect of Graft Vs. Host disease. Needless to say, this depressed us greatly. But we persevered. Okay, Derek got over it and I cried for weeks, what can I say. Unfortunately the realization of losing Derek has been at the forefront of my mind since this point, so I can't really say that I have been all myself since August.
In separate news, I got called to be the Cub Scout Wolf leader for our ward. However, our stake has so few boys that we combine with 2 other wards to make one den. It is a lot of fun and I really like only having to teach every 3 months :)
September- In September I was suppose to run in the Disney half marathon in Disneyland but two things happened. 1) I hurt myself. And not even from a cool running injury. Embarrassingly enough, I was standing on chair steam cleaning the wall above our fireplace and the legs of the chair broke. I hurt both ankles, my wrist, and my self esteem in the fall. So I was unable to continue training. And I have yet to go back to training. I will again. Maybe. 2) We were too poor to go. I think that this depressed me more than hurting myself. I thought that this would be a great trip to get away from everything before getting into the transplant drama. Instead we went to Flagstaff to visit my sister, which was still nice. I can't find any pictures of this joyous day but we went to the county fair, a craft fair, and toured Flagstaff. The weather was perfect.
Later that week, we enjoyed a trip to the Sea life Aquarium at Arizona Mills with Lindsey and Madden. The boys enjoyed touching the star fish and seeing all the fish.
In September we were also able to witness my mom and Jeff get married! It was an adventure to say the least, but it was an awesome day, can you tell?
In September we also went to Tucson and met with the folks at the Cancer center down there. It is an amazing center and the people were spectacular. I had a really good feeling about that place, even though it was really far away. We did find out that if Derek did the transplant there, he would have to stay in Tucson for 3 months after the transplant. This did not sit well with us, even though we understood why. It would be too hard in general to swing that so we started looking into other options.
October- In October we celebrated out 3rd wedding anniversary. It was awesome. Derek told me to not worry about it and he would plan the whole thing. This was difficult for me to handle but I let him handle it. We went to a resort, ate at my favorite place (Cheesecake Factory), and got his sister to watch Camden for the night. It was a really pleasant surprise and I appreciated that he took care of it all.
Halloween was also a blast. We carved some pumpkins and Camden went trick or treating alongside our 2 neighbor girls.
Also, all of Derek's siblings got tested to see if any of them were a match to him for his bone marrow transplant.
November- In November we got Beach family pictures (which occurs every other year). They turned out great and we really like them.
Later in the month, Camden was playing in the backyard while Derek was working back there and fell on something (not sure what) and split open his cheek/chin. It was terrifying to say the least. Derek said to just put a band-aid on it but I said we should take him to the ER. So we comprimised and took him to Urgent Care. However, Urgent Care couldn't do the stitches Camden needed so they sent us to the ER. I love/hate being right. We didn't get pictures of his ER experience but here is what it looked like after the stitches were put in.
He has a pretty awesome scar. Luckily, it does not take away from his super cute face.
December- Derek had another PET scan which showed that his cancer isn't growing but it is getting more active. Which isn't the greatest news. However, we did find out that two of his siblings are a match to him for his bone marrow transplant! We were really grateful for that news and are grateful for the willingness of his siblings to help him.
We were asked by the Primary president in our ward to play Mary and Joseph in the primary's production for our ward party. We agreed, though after this year I doubt they will ever ask us again! Here is a family picture (us and Jesus):Camden got to sit on Santa's lap:
We are getting ready for Christmas. It is our favorite time of year so we have the house all decorated. We are grateful to spend this time together and be able to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
We appreciate all the love and support that we have gotten from everyone. We can feel the thoughts and prayers that are sent our way. We feel really positive about this transplant and are grateful that Heavenly Father has provided this opportunity and the hope that Derek can be cured of his cancer. Heavenly Father has blessed us with a magnificent life together and truly takes care of our every need. Our testimonies have been strengthened by the last couple of years and even when I feel my weakest I realize that I am stronger than I was the day before.
Thanks for checking out our year! Have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Derek, Kaela, and Camden