I am 44. About 4 years ago I was told I have Degenerative Disk Disease. Have had back problems for as long as I can remember. Doc even put me in traction for 2 weeks back when I was in High School when they thought that did something. 2 years ago I had I believe C6 fused in my neck. Helped a lot. Since that time I was also having pain right above my butt and mid way up kind of between my shoulder blades fluid has been connecting. Both areas have continued to get really bad. The lower one has incredible amount of pain that burns and if I sit too long the sciatic nerve hurts like hell with pain in butt and mainly down left leg to foot. Went on a dream vacation to Hawaii a little over a year ago. About 9 hour flight from here in WI. I felt like I was being tortured pretty much the whole plane ride. Can't even really describe how bad it was. Doc isn't sure yet what is going on with my upper back pain but he wants to clear out the L5 disk which is ruptured, put in spacer and whatever screws and plate or whatever and fuse. They are going in through the front. Surgery is 6/18/12. Not sure how long I will be in hospital. I went for a 2nd opinion and one surgeon who I liked more but decided not to go to because the hospital he operates is a 1 1/2 away said I would be in the hospital 5 days and the surgeon in town the nurse first said 3 days and now 1? Does that even sound possible? Also I am a custodian at our local high school. The nurse told me I would only be out 6 - 8 weeks. Does that sound realistic?