I finally feel validated. I got the report of my L5-S1 surgery today. Here's an excerpt:
The muscle was dissected subperiosteally from the spinous processes and laminae of left L5-S1... ...I performed a hemillaminectomy, mesial facetectomy and removed the yellow ligament sharply... ...Using principles of microdissection, I identified an enormous disk rupture underlying the S1 nerve root.... ...We delivered very large pieces of the freely extruded disk fragment. The nucleus polposus was markedly disrupted and I performed a formal nucleus pulpostomy...
So, to naysaying doctors and nurses who treated me like a drug addict when I asked for pain meds, I am sticking my tongue out at you!
My healing process is going very well. The nerve pain has diminished immensely (though the numbness continues - normal) and I have had some issues with spasms with the muscles healing, but am starting aquatherapy for that. All in all, I am in MUCH better shape than prior to the surgery. My surgeon is awesome.
With all the weirdness going on with my lower back, my upper back I guess was feeling neglected and has started to pitch a fit. We'll see what happens there...
Thanks to everyone for their posts and help on this forum. You guys rock. You helped me when I felt like I was going crazy, not knowing what was wrong/not having the "classic" symptoms.