I saw my surgeon this week for my 12 week post-op followup. I've been doing really well - sleeping better, no medication (occasional acetaminophen) and keeping up with the walking (2-3 miles just about every day). He's pleased with my progress and lifted all ROM restrictions. He did say that any athletic pursuits should be sports where I am in control, to minimize risk of injury (so rugby and horseback riding are not recommended). He encouraged me to stay active, that it would keep the blood flow in the spine. To me that means walking and Pilates, not sky diving).
I have a twitch in my calf muscle of my left leg, the nerve compression was on that side. He said that is residual from the nerve being compressed for so long, and it may or may not go away. Its annoying but its not painful, I can live with it.
I asked about diagnostics to see if I am fusing, such as an MRI or CT. He said the best gauge is really how I am feeling, and that imaging is tricky with metal in the spine - he doesn't think we would necessarily be able to see if there is fusion. I guess the only way to truly tell is if he goes back in and looks, and that isn't going to happen as far as I'm concerned!!
I also asked him about the disc above the fusion level, which is bulging. He said that bending over, and lifting while bent over, should be avoided. Just lifting - I need to be really cautious. I'll see him again in July for 6 month check in.
I feel really lucky.