Well, now it's near 3 years since my L3-S1 with fusion and hardware, screws etc. I still have to take pain medication just to get through the day. My doctor gives me just enough so I can't take more than stated. Vicodin 5/325. Low dose. Maybe I take 2 1//2 pills a day. On a good day. I have to support that with aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil or the like. I also have a muscle relaxer. He's telling me that the disc at L2-3 is bad just above that is also bad. What I'm wondering is when do they stop? Do people just go ahead and have their entire backs full or hardware? Sure I couldn't stand for more than 10 minutes before but here 3 years later I still have to sit to chop vegetables and the like for dinner. Can't stand for long. Long walks, which I was looking forward to after the initial year of healing are a luxury. It's a crap shoot. I go out, sometimes it's ok for 15 minutes and then it's horrible pain & spasms.. I have to walk or limp home. Sometimes I can walk maybe 1/2 hour before the pain kicks in and I have to stop. I get shooting pains that go into my groin area that are horrible as well as my low back. I don't believe the L2- L4 is the cause for this? So, I'm healed. I still have pain. I wish my insurance would help pay for a house cleaner. It's near impossible for me to do it all. I work one day and I'm miserable for 2. I wonder if I could use something like a TENS unit? I think I don't take that much pain meds. My doc does not give me stronger meds. He's like that. I wish I had something that would work all day but he's not giving me anything like that. He believes I need the surgery. He's a back surgeon. I believe he called it failed back syndrome or the like. I'd love to hear from others who have had similar surgeries and what they have experienced. I'm 61 years old. I don't want to be 5 years down the line and like... You HAVE TO HAVE SURGERY NOW! Bite the bullet now rather than later. Although, I'm not having any hardware removed. Too much pain putting it in. It's going to the grave with me. I've never felt pain from anything worse than back surgery. Your thoughts would be most appreciated. I'd love to hear from anyone who's had L2-3-4 surgery and fusion and how long recovery and PAIN?