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24th Jan 2023

First Dates’ Merlin Griffiths shares update amid bowel cancer recovery

Sarah McKenna Barry

He has been dispelling stigma against stomas throughout his experience with cancer.

Merlin Griffiths, who appears as the bartender on Channel 4’s First Dates, has shared a health update with fans after undergoing surgery.

The TV personality was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021, and has been using his platform to raise awareness for the condition and to dispel the stigma surrounding stomas – the opening to the abdomen used to remove waste in some bowel cancer patients.

Yesterday, he had surgery to remove his stoma.

He shared a photograph from his hospital bed and wrote: “Ouch. Time for a nap. Surgery done, tomorrow is a new day. Things start happening once I fart properly! I hope it’s soon because I’m very hungry.

“Feels weird looking down and not seeing a #Stoma. My hand keeps feeling for my bag to see how full it is, and coming up empty!”

Merlin then thanked the NHS England for their care.

He also shared that a teddy bear with a stoma he used – buttony bear – is being passed on to a child with a stoma via the surgical team.

Merlin’s surgery comes several months after he shared that he was undergoing a “set back” in his cancer recovery. Due to some complications, he had to return to hospital for a few procedures.

At the time, he took to Instagram, writing: “Minor day surgery for some complications with my anastomosis following a Low Anterior Resection in April. The #CancerTreatment journey is long, and often painful and ugly. I couldn’t do it without my family either.”

He also spoke to Metro about his treatment, which has involved surgery and radiotherapy.

“It’s a long, slow road, as anyone who’s going through cancer treatment knows,” he said. “You deal with it, don’t you? You keep smiling and there is light at the end of the tunnel, there always is.”

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