‘This journey is long, painful and ugly’: First Dates star Merlin Griffiths reveals he’s undergoing more surgery after suffering ‘a complication’ from a procedure to treat his bowel cancer
First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he’s undergoing more surgery, three months after a robotic operation to help treat his bowel cancer.
The star of the Channel 4 show, 47, took to Instagram on Monday to update his followers, after sharing last week that he was back in hospital with a ‘complication’ despite undergoing surgery to remove a stage three tumour.
Merlin, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in September, admitted his journey through battling the disease was proving to be ‘long, painful and ugly,’ but added he hoped this visit to hospital would be the ‘last time for a while.’
Scary: First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he’s undergoing more surgery, three months after a robotic operation to help treat his bowel cancer
In his post Merlin shared a pair of snaps from his hospital bed, once again sporting a face mask as he prepared for surgery.
He penned the caption: ‘Last time for a while I hope. 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.’
Worrying: The star of the Channel 4 show (pictured) took to Instagram on Monday to update his followers, after sharing last week that he was back in hospital with a ‘complication’
Worrying: In his post Merlin shared a pair of snaps from his hospital bed, once again sporting a face mask as he prepared for surgery
Worrying: He penned the caption: ‘Last time for a while I hope. Minor day surgery for some complications with my anastomosis following a Low Anterior Resection in April’
Last week Merlin revealed that he had returned to hospital for further treatment after suffering complications mere weeks after undergoing the robotic surgery to treat his cancer.
He shared a selfie from his hospital bed on Monday, with the hashtag ‘complications’.
In April Merlin underwent robotic surgery to remove a tumour, after medical tests last year unearthed the stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length.
On the mend! Last week Merlin revealed that he had returned to hospital for further treatment after suffering complications mere weeks after undergoing the robotic surgery
An exhausted-looking Merlin was wearing a colourful unicorn print face mask and had a cannula bandage on his hand as he lay in his hospital bed for the new photo.
He didn’t go into details as to why he was back in hospital, writing in the caption: ‘Oh… Squibwibble. #complications. # nhs. #BowelCancerAwareness.’
Three weeks ago the star was back at work, six weeks after his surgery to remove the tumour.
The First Dates barman launched Royal Ascot’s first ever reduced and alcohol-free bar on June 14 as part of Harrogate Spring Water’s Mindful Drinking Mission.
Treatment: He shared a selfie from his hospital bed on Monday, with the hashtag ‘complications
Merlin was discharged from hospital six days after undergoing surgery back in April.
At the time, the TV personality shared a cheering update to Instagram, posting a selfie with blue skies behind him, writing: ‘And breathe. 6 days, start to finish.’
He added praise for the pioneering surgery, explaining: ‘Now for real #cancer recovery. I’ve had open laparotomies before and the recovery was 6 weeks in hospital before robotic surgery!! Amazing.’
Road to recovery: Two weeks ago the star was back at work ,launching Royal Ascot’s first ever reduced and alcohol-free bar six weeks after his surgery to remove the tumour
Merlin added the hashtags to mark Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, writing: #nhs #davincisurgicalsystem #bowelcancerawarenessmonth #stoma.
He thanked the NHS for ‘literally saving his life’ after undergoing the ‘robotic’ surgery.
He wrote: ‘Thank you #NHS for literally saving my life. #BowelCancerAwarenessMonth.’
He also shared a photo of the four-armed ‘robot’ holding the surgical instruments and a camera, to give his followers an insight into the procedure.
Merlin announced in March that he was due to have the operation, joking that he had three weeks to ‘get my s**t together’.
On the mend: Merlin was discharged from hospital six days after undergoing surgery to remove a tumour, back in April
Last year, Merlin was told he has a 75 per cent chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length.
And updating his followers on his progress, he tweeted: ‘Operation scheduled. Three weeks to get my s**t together. Robotic surgery, welcome to the future!’
He later thanked his fans for their well wishes, adding: ‘Thank you to everyone wishing me well. X May your lives be prosperous and filled with empathy and happiness.’
Robotic surgery sees surgeons view the operation through a magnified screen while a robotic machine with four arms holds the surgical instruments and a camera. The surgeon controls the arms of the machine and removes the cancer through keyhole surgery.
Fascinating: At the time of his surgery he shared a photo of the four-armed ‘robot’ holding the surgical instruments and a camera, to give his followers an insight into the procedure
Candid: Plugging April’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he concluded: Ready as I’ll ever be. Tumour removal time. [champagne emoji] #bowelcancerawarenessmonth’
Merlin received his bleak diagnosis from doctors at Northampton General Hospital, saying at the time that he was trying to keep a ‘positive outlook’.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror last year, Merlin said: ‘I’m keeping that positive outlook, but I’ve a morbid sense of humour. I tell people, ‘I have colorectal cancer… it’s a real pain in the ar*e!’
Merlin has a seven-year-old daughter called Alix with his partner Lucille, 40, who he has been with for more than a decade and will be by his side as he faces a year of life-saving treatment.
When the barman told his young daughter of the troubling diagnosis he reassured her of the powers of modern medicine and gushed about the public healthcare system.
At the time, he said: ‘I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country, which is just so incredible.’
Keeping his emotions behind closed doors, Merlin admitted: ‘I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’. I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other.’
Unwell: Merlin announced in March that he was due to have the operation, joking that he had three weeks to ‘get my s**t together’
The TV personality, who became a household name alongside Fred Sirieix in the First Dates restaurant, started to feel pain in June but thought it was caused by an old stomach injury from a car accident in his 20s.
Merlin was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and said his tumour looked like an alien and felt like a walnut stuck inside of him.
Doctors discovered the tumour when they gave the barman an emergency sigmoidoscopy to probe his lower intestine after the star spent three months telling people he felt something wrong in his body.
Merlin admitted he was terrified by the ordeal but immediately focused on his chances of survival following his diagnosis.
The star revealed that his tumour wanted to move into the tissue surrounding it but wasn’t ‘lymph’ – meaning the cancer thankfully hadn’t spread.
Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant, including maitre d’hotel Fred Sirieix, and waiters Grant Urquhart and CiCi Coleman, about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family.
The barman admitted his peers were shocked and couldn’t help but question why bad things happen to good people.
BOWEL CANCER: THE SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE
Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
Such tumours usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.
- Bleeding from the bottom
- Blood in stools
- A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme, unexplained tiredness
- Abdominal pain
Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they:
- Are over 50
- Have a family history of the condition
- Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
- Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
- Lead an unhealthy lifestyle
Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.
More than nine out of 10 people with stage one bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.
This drops significantly if it is diagnosed in later stages.
According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.