Today is my 1 year anniversary from a 2 level fusion L4/L5, L5/S1. Had my hardware removed 2 months ago. Basically my back is 85% better with bouts of SI Joint Dsynfunction and an achy back (I still have pretty severe arthritis that fusion does not address) sometimes. The SI problem is a little worse then prior to my surgery, but is manageable. Since my hardware removal, my right leg is finally recovering. My right ankle is a little weak and very similar to the discomfort I felt when I hyper-extended all of the ligaments in that ankle many years ago due to a motorcycle accident. All in all, I believe my right leg will fully recover with the exception of some minor numbness. My left leg is a different story, where I have suffered some nerve damage that has resulted in daily pain in the left ankle and of course some numbness. The pain in my left leg is much less than what I endured in my back and legs prior to my surgery.
All in all, my surgery was a success. Its unfortunate that I exchanged one problem for another but it is a risk we all take when under going this type of procedure.
I hope anyone considering a fusion weighs the risks and realizes that after this surgery you can come out on the other side with new problems.
There is a silver lining to all of this in that I have accomplished all of my goals that I set for myself prior to my surgery. I can play with my kids, ride roller coasters, play golf, work in the yard, work around the house, and to top it all off bowl (did this last weekend).