Celeste Yarnall, beloved by Star Trek fans for her portrayal of Martha Landon in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Apple," first shared with StarTrek.com readers her personal cancer battle in a guest blog that ran in February, 2015. She took fans through her diagnosis of stage 3 Primary Peritoneal cancer -- ovarian cancer -- and detailed the steps in her treatment. Yarnall has experienced ups and downs, but she's in remission, and even returned to public appearances, including Star Trek Las Vegas this summer. And now, following a hip replacement surgery, she's eager to stay healthy, get fit and resume the life she was leading before cancer struck. Today, Yarnall returns to StarTrek.com with a new guest blog in which she shares how she's continuing to live long and prosper.
I am so happy to share with you that I am still in remission from the high-grade stage 3 ovarian cancer. My operation took place in November 2014, followed by six rounds of chemo, and then another surgery to repair my abdomen in July 2015. I dealt with two blood clots, and they installed one of those IVC filters to protect me during the surgery from the blood clots migrating. I completed after the surgery a course of blood-thinning injections. Happily, they surgically removed the IVC filter successfully. One more surgery followed in December of 2015, but I also that month began my immunotherapy in Grand Cayman at PerseusPCI. Here they used the tumor tissue we had stored during the first surgery and shipped it to Perseus. There, they used my blood and created a vaccine just for me. So, at this time, I have completed four vaccine treatments at Perseus in Grand Cayman.
When your doctors tell you that you are in remission, one must take this state of being one day at a time and celebrate each of those days as a blessing -- which I do with my amazing husband Nazim Artist, who is originally from London and is a very talented painter. I am due to return to Cayman as there are two more vaccines that I require.
Nazim and I have been working hard. Besides making the four trips to Grand Cayman, I made an appearance in Bayreuth, Germany, to celebrate a wonderful Elvis concert with a great tribute artist who does the young Elvis. His name is Mark Summers. We had a great time on this trip.
Nazim and I also joined a group of Star Trek actors who flew to Bellaria, Italy, to kick off the 50th anniversary of Star Trek festivities. My dear friend BarBara Luna and Lee Meriwether were with us, as was the one and only William Shatner.
One of the other highlights of the year was heading to Las Vegas for the Star Trek Las Vegas gathering of the clan at the Rio, which I’d missed last year because of that second surgery. I was on stage with BarBara Luna, Sherry Jackson, Sabrina Sharf and Tanya Lemani. Our panel was moderated by Ian Spelling, who gave us all equal time to share our memories of TOS.
From there we left for Memphis for the annual Elvis Week, where I was on stage for Conversations on Elvis with Tom Brown, formerly of TCM. This was great fun and we got to see some wonderful old friends and make new ones as well.
Upon returning, I joined BarBara Luna, Sherry Jackson and Lee Meriwether, along with Mariette Hartley, for Inside Edition on CBS to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Then the long-awaited premiere of Unbelievable!!!!! took place at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. This was a truly unbelievable experience and, once again, BarBara Luna and I, who have co-executive producer credit and also appear in it, were featured on the red carpet, along with Beverly Washburn, Bobby Clark and Sean Kenney. I enjoyed the honor of walking with my husband Nazim and also posing with Nichelle Nichols, who is featured in the film and is one of the executive producers as well. This was a beautiful evening. And, for me, it was a chance to get dressed up and show off our new Nazim Artist Wearable Art, as Nazim wore one of our scarves. The press loved it and I was so proud of Nazim for looking amazing wearing it.
I have been having such fun taking Nazim’s beautiful paintings and translating them to wearable art on two different website platforms. One is www.shopvida.com/collections/voices/nazim-artist and the other is www.shopvida.com/collections/voices/celeste-yarnall. The reason for having two websites is so that we can have 100 items on each of our sites. Mine actually features my very first painting ever, which I have named Yeoman Martha’s Flower. It’s my interpretation of the flower I wore in my hair as Yeoman Martha Landon, which was plucked from the fauna on Gamma Triangle VI. The designer wearable art features tops, tees, kimono-style sheer wraps, pillows, scarves and tote bags -- all with Nazim’s or my paintings and/or our photographic art.
Doing the design translations has been amazing therapy for me, as I have discovered that cancer survivors suffer a form of PTSD. So, stress can be problematic and this work, along with my daily Bemer device sessions, has been amazing for me. The proceeds from this venture, as well as my books sales, my husband’s art and my autographed photos, go to my personal immunotherapy cancer fund.
It feels so good to be productive, even though I have to make many appearances in a wheelchair and use a cane. At least I am out there living life and loving every minute of it. Because all my tests came back with good results, I was able to have hip replacement surgery earlier this month.
My hope is that it will soon mean walking without pain and hopefully dancing my passion again, which is Argentine Tango, the very dance that brought my husband and me together.
October 25, 2016: A quick update to my update:
Just a few days ago, I took my first walk around the cul-de-sac out front of our home with my physical therapist and Nazim. It’s just one week post-hip-replacement surgery, using my BungyPump Walking Poles. We also went through my whole series of exercises so far, and I must say I did pretty well. I followed instructions from my surgeon and took my pain med a half-hour before she came to help me get moving. The pain level… I’d describe it as feeling like what you might imagine being kicked by a mule in your backside feels like, but we are all pleased with my progress and no complications. I am doing my device religiously and icing as directed. I take a non-narcotic pain med only as needed. And I am eating my anti-inflammatory diet very carefully and have resumed some of my supplements.
I am also excited to share that I will be making my first appearance, one month from the surgery date, which will be 11-11-16 at an event where I will be a keynote speaker, with my husband Nazim. It’s called the “Earthshift Meets Star Knowledge Conference” and it will be held at the beautiful Desert Hot Springs, CA. Go to www.earthshiftconference.com for info.
Nazim and I are counting our blessings, as we are so grateful to now have my hip-replacement surgery behind me, and so grateful to have had the amazing surgeon Dr. Brad Penenberg doing it. He is just amazing and so caring. I am looking forward to a complete healing and walking comfortably again! I will also need to return to Grand Cayman and PerseusPCI for a booster cancer immunotherapy vaccine.
Thank you for all your blessings and all the kind wishes you have sent along to me with your generous donations. We are so grateful to each and every one of you.
All my love in return!