Let me introduce myself!
I'm a 48 year old male with multiple issues of the spine. Much wear and tear brought on by decades of carrying excess weight. My peak weight, 2 years ago, was around 500 pounds. Excess weight, spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1 along with severe wear and narrowing of the space between those two left me in constant and severe pain.
Through much hard work and effort I've managed to lose almost 300 pounds and now weigh between 205-210 on any given day, with the trend still continuing downward.
In December 2010 I was in constant pain and couldn't stand on my feet for more than 3-5 minutes without being in excruciating pain. If I had to be on my feet more than 10-15 minutes at a time I would be in excruciating pain for the rest of the day and not sleep well that night. By December 2012 I'd had steady improvement in my pain, as well as my ability to stand and be on my feet. This directly coincides with my weight loss, and in December 2012, at around 225 pounds, I was able to walk 5 miles every day and be on my feet 6-10 hours a day without significant discomfort or pain. I thought my back issues were gone!
But they all came back over the course of 2-3 weeks... The pain... the discomfort from pinched nerves... my inability to stand for any length of time. It wasn't as bad as it was at my worst, at 500 pounds, but it was bad enough to keep from from walking, or standing on my feet. Constant pain and an inablility to do what I'd become used to doing just plain stunk. I'd come so far and thought all that was behind me!
So I go to the doc who sends me to another doc who says "Let's give it a month and see if it gets better". It didn't. So they send me on to an orthopedic surgeon who takes one look at my CT scan and says "Doh... look at this, no wonder you're having issues..." The excess weight is gone. But the spondylolisthesis is still there. The wear and tear is still there. The narrowing between L5/S1 is still there. He says he can fix it! Pulls out his little spine prop and shows me what he can do. He calls it Transpedicular Instrumented Fusion. Rods. Bolts. Bone grafts.
The thought of spinal fusion scares the bejeezus out of me.
So I'm taking time to think about it. Hopefully educate myself and make the right decision. I go back to see him in June when I'll make a decision one way or the other. In the meantime I've been wearing a back brace. It helps. It has allowed me to slowly resume my walks and I am now able to walk 5 miles a day again. I am on my feet more than I was a few months ago, but nothing like the 6-8 hours a day like I was in December, and I'm still in a good bit more pain.
I have much to learn. I don't understand all the lingo here, or all of the abbreviations. But I have time to figure it out.