I'm new on here and looking for some advice about an L5-S1 fusion. I am a 20 year old female, and I am scheduled for the surgery on Monday (2 days from now) and I'm really questioning it. I began with back problems when I was 13 after having a gymnastics accident and slipping my L4-5 disk. I had a laminectomy/diskectomy after trying everything else, and it make a HUGE difference in pain initially. Before surgery I couldn't walk more than a few steps/stand/sit/lay on back. After the surgery, the pain was gone.
A few years later (around age 15), the pain came back. I tried injections and PT, and the pain mostly went away. Then in 2010, the pain came back and nothing helped. An MRI showed that I had degeneration at L4-5 and I had slipped L5-S1. I had another laminectomy/diskectomy (November 2011), which didn't really help. Since then, I have been in physical therapy the whole time, I've tried injections, medications, etc. Recent MRIs, CT/CT myelograms and x-rays show that I have a retrolisthesis at L5-S1, degeneration at both the disks I've had surgery at, a facet cyst on L5-S1 and bulging L2-3. L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1. I saw a surgeon who said that the only surgical treatment option at this point is a fusion at L5-S1. I have had 4 opinions on this, 3 of which said yes, 1 of which said no (because of my age, degeneration at L4-5, etc.)
At this point, I don't know what to do. The pain is severe when I live normally (I had to withdraw from school for the semester because the pain was unbearable) but I am afraid of such a major surgery. Does anyone have experience with this? Would you recommend it? How was your ability to return to your favorite activities affect post-surgery. I am a competitive figure skater and the surgeon said that I could maybe be back on the ice within 8-10 weeks. Does this sound feasible based on your experience with recovery? Any additional information that you think could be useful is also appreciated.