I just joined and this is my input.
My ACDF on C5-C6 occurred in December of 2009. L5-S1 was taken care of in the middle 1980’s. Actual physical recovery from the ACDF went well and most, but not all, pre surgery issues were slowly resolved.
The primary reason for ACDF was bone spurs digging into the Spinal Cord and many resulting negative impacts (Loss of coordination, muscle spasms, neurological/cognitive issues, etc.). As there are two more discs with issues, additional surgery is probably for the future.
The negative impacts from the bone spurs have not completely gone away and after this much time will probably never go away. For example, going up and down stairs is still a very slow experience. Nerve seize ups occur every morning and I am nowhere near as fast or coordinated as before the spinal issues. Also, residual numbness and tingling in both hands and feet is intermittent. It is very interesting to sometimes discover you can move your fingers without feeling them at all.
That being said, the surgery was absolutely necessary. The doctor said that failure to remove the bone spurs meant any accident could have resulted in severe damage to the spinal cord and possibly complete loss of function. As it is, I still play basketball and other sports. I have also discovered that with intense focus I am able to somewhat approach pre surgery coordination and a measure of speed. However, true athletic quickness and very fine motor control will never return. I now run like a robot and distance feels impossible. I find it interesting that I pay for the intense focus later with lack of coordination and moving very slowly. The best way to put it is that muscle memory and mind over matter appears to somewhat compensate for loss of full spinal cord functionality, but at a price to be paid later.
The funny thing is most people do not believe I am now disabled with probably no more than 80% of full spinal cord function. The spinal cord disability is not visible and I still follow a fairly intense CrossFit based workout routine. However, it not the true CrossFit workout as I am no longer physically able to do all the workouts.
In other words, if you are able stay physically active, it is sometimes possible to minimize lasting negative effects. The caveat is that time off from physical rehabilitation does not exist. I find that if I do not work out six days a week everything regresses and my coordination and balance starts to regress. Therefore, for the rest of my life, I will have to be physically active most days.
Anyway, this is my story and maybe it will be a guide for someone facing the same type of surgery. Probably does not apply to everyone, but after this much time, it seemed like a good idea to post it with people of somewhat similar experience.