Just an update - after a long wait and one cancelled operation - day before due - I eventually got my fusion surgery.
Spent 2 nights in hospital - then home. Now almost 8 weeks post op (I think) am cutting down on the codeine/ tramadol - as my memory and energy levels are fairly low. Need to be more active now but I walk 1 - 2 miles most days - which as far as I was concerned is a miracle!!
Surgeon reassured me after the op, saying that the joint at L4/L5 was 'extremely mobile' and that it really had to be done.
Walking now is so easy - the way I explain it is that before it was like trying to ride a bike up hill - now walking is like free wheeling down the other side.
I have got a brace that I was given to use before the op - but my surgeon says he doesn't use then post op ??? Although I find it very uncomfortable to wear as it pinchs and rubs the skin.
All in all - I am quite satisfied with my rate of progress and I am not expecting to return to work until November (3 months recovery)
Can only say it was the right decision for me in the end to take the fusion surgery. Thanks for all the support from here too!