Sadly but gladly went through with fusion. It isn't anything I wish to go through again in the near future, and therefore am looking at different career opportunities. I had L3-S1 fused in Jan and being only 31 years old, I've been thinking of "what career can I do now" ever since surgery. I am doing a lot better, 3 weeks into PT, and seeing some pain shift around, but all in all improving. My pre-surgery pain is gone, but my surgeon straightened my back accidentally, and upset every joint below my waist, but I'm getting better. In the end, I think it has been a great sucess, excpet for the fact I do not want to have another one in 5-10 years. I've always been a naturally great at mechanic/wood worker/sheet metal. If I keep my current occupation of being an aircraft mechanic, my surgeon thinks 10 years will be a stretch between my next surgery for my L2-L3 failing me. We are constantly stooping, bending, kneeling, twisting, laying down, climbing ladders, and not to mention riveting not being good on joints. My tool box weights 800 pounds, and moves around easily, but its the other every day stuff I'm worried about.
I'm qualified through the VA for Voc Rehab, but having a difficult time finding jobs that they will allow me to retrain for. Non destructive testing(NDT) in the aviation industry is mostly light duty style of employment. However, being in Alaska, most of the NDT jobs are on the north slope, and the University of Anchorage, piggy backs the NDT program with their welding program. Trying to explain to the VA, that these are two completely different industries is like trying to get the VA to respond in a timely manor for our needs, they have a 6 month to year time frame in their opinion it seems they have to work with.
Has anyone else returned to a labor intensive job, and not screwed up their back? I love my career, but don't want to wear my body down, to where I am not enjoying life anymore.The last 3 years have been a medicated intense painful life on a roller coaster, that I do not care to ride again. I get extremely bored with any desk type position, so grasping at straws here. I've talked with 2 different counselors, one at the VA and one at the local college. Both do not understand why I would not enjoy doing a desk type position. I've thought about engineering, but I am not looking forward to returning to school as it is. Facing my mid life crisis this early in life, is becoming an extreme challenge. My mind is young, but my body has no way to keep up. I'm trying to figure out what to use my mind for that will allow my body to catch up with it again.
Thanks, and best of luck to everyone out there. I am extremely happy with how things are progressing. If this is my new pain level, its more tolerable than before, and at least, livable.