FIRST Dates star Merlin Griffiths has undergone an operation to reverse his abdominal stoma following his bowel cancer diagnosis.
The popular barman was diagnosed in 2021 and had a tumor and part of his colon removed.
The star was fitted with a colostomy bag, but last night revealed he had his final procedure which would allow him to poop normally again.
Merlin, 47, looked in good spirits and cracked a joke after the op.
The TV barman wrote: “Gosh, it’s very odd knowing all my insides are actually inside me again after 9 months of a #stoma.
“Next step, farting. Then food. #NHS #Cancer #Surgery”
His followers praised his wit and one replied with a photo of her also in hospital, writing: “From one hosp bed to another. Get well soon x”
Merlin typed back: “You too Rachie! Loving your taste in pajamas too, we have such similar taste!!”
Another follower said: “Get well soon. Liking your priorities of farting over food”
And the mixologist replied: “Hahaha, I’m not allowed food until I fart 🤣 seriously. Bummer, man.”
Merlin spoke to The Sun about his cancer recovery in November and said he was looking forward to his final operation after grueling rounds of chemotherapy.
He said: “I am quite happy to keep (the stoma) for the rest of my life, but touch wood I’ll be able to get it reversed before Christmas. I find out in the next couple of weeks, which is exciting.
“And then onto the next phase of recovery, which is adult potty training!”
He explained he is classed as “living with cancer” for the time being.
Merlin added: “That’s an important distinction to make. Just because you have an operation to remove the tumor doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you are cancer free.
“They used to call it remission, now they call it NED, which means no evidence of disease.
“So NED happens after five years for bowel cancer. Now it’s a five year ongoing process before they are willing to say alright, yeah, you’re about as safe as you can be.”
He adds: “From there you’ll still have more regular check ups than most and then it’s ten years, you’re off the list from ten years. That’s as far as it goes.
“If there’s no recurrence of disease after ten years, then you are technically cured.”
Of First Dates, he hopes to continue on the show for years to come.
He says: “I do hope so, when there’s more filming. I’m happy to do it as long as they’ll have me. On First Dates Hotel we were just in France and Italy.
“It’s about the people, it always has been. Working on First Dates, everyone in the restaurant. It is home away from home. For decades, the same as Fred (Sirieix), we’re both hospitality professionals originally. What we do there, it’s not making telly, it’s hospitality.