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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/merlinfdc4
The TV star, who is known for helping to hype up hopeful romantics before they meet their match in the First Dates restaurant, has been candid about his cancer treatment after first announcing his diagnosis last September.
Ahead of the return of First Dates Hotel tonight (7 September), Merlin spoke to Metro about his health and explained he underwent an operation in April, after which he has been on a 'long, slow road to recovery'.
"I got myself up and around [because] you’re supposed to do what’s called active recovery these days," he explained, and commended the NHS for getting him home just six days after his surgery.
Merlin said it was 'all going well', but revealed he had a 'minor setback so... was in for a couple of procedures'.
In June, Merlin shared an image on Instagram lying in a hospital bed with the caption: "Oh... Squibwibble. #complications #nhs #BowelCancerAwareness."
The following month, he shared another post expressing his hopes that it would be his last time in hospital 'for a while', adding: "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."
Merlin went on to tell Metro that undergoing radiotherapy means his body 'doesn’t heal the same way it used to', explaining that he is now 'under strict surgeon’s orders not to overdo it so active recovery takes a backseat'.
"So the last six to eight weeks have been quite frustrating, largely having to cool my heels and not being able to do what I’d like to do," he explained. "But otherwise, we are getting better. It’s a long, slow road, as anyone who’s going through cancer treatment knows. You deal with it, don’t you? You keep smiling and there is light at the end of the tunnel, there always is."
As well as the support he has received online from First Dates fans, Merlin said the team on the show has also rallied around him, with Fred Sirieix sending him 'constant' texts and chatting to him on the phone 'at least once a month'.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week