Two years ago this week I underwent fusion of my L4/L/5 for spondylolisthesis. I feel so lucky to be able to report that my surgery was a complete success! Within one week of surgery I reported that I was actually in less pain than I had been beforehand; although I was taking 1-2 Percocet every six hours! The recovery really wasn't bad, mostly I felt fatigued and worn down. At the 4 week point I turned in my Percocet and traded it for Norco. 5-6 weeks was the turning point for me and I began resuming my regular activities. 6 months post op I hired a personal trainer and I've worked out with her and 3-5 of my friends 2-3 times per week. We're currently doing a P90X Live routine and it's HARD and yet, I can do it! When I first started with her I couldn't get myself into a plank and now I can hold myself there for more than a minute! I trained for a cycling trip to France last fall and will be cycling in Austria this summer. (20-40 miles per day). I have gone snow skiing and have found myself being towed behind a boat in an inflatable! Prior to surgery I could walk about 2 miles and then had to ice my back and would be uncomfortable for the rest of the day. I am 53 years old with 3 adult children and a 12 year old at home. I frequently had what I called "3 Norco days", these were days where I did anything above average, such as cooking Thanksgiving dinner, gardening, decorating my Christmas tree or cleaning house after company, I couldn't enjoy myself at all. I took a Norco in the car on my way to our son's wedding reception. That just broke my husband's heart and he asked me to please figure out what was wrong and see if there was a fix. I scheduled appointments with 4 different spine surgeons and went ahead with surgery. I am not 100% pain free. I have flare ups from time to time and some of them are rather uncomfortable! I still see my pain management doctor every few months. I take a daily anti-inflammatory, I keep Tramadol in my handbag (I take it probably 5 days a week) and I keep Norco and Zanaflex on hand . I might go 3-4 weeks without a Norco and then I might need 1-2 a day for 3-5 days., but I'm able to recover. I'm not sure I was able to picture such a successful outcome, I would have been happy with far less as it would have still been an improvement. Just wanted to share with ya'll that there is hope!
Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013