I am starting this thread as I have found little in the way of info for my situation specifically. I am a 42 year old male and currently am a police officer of the last 17 years. No idea how I injured it, but after several months of pain that eventually became a steady pain down my right leg causing numbness and foot control issues in my right foot, I finally went to the doctor. Diagnosis was a Grade 2 Spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 with almost no disc left at the location. Yeah, definitely listen to your body sooner than I did. My PCP took one look at the x-rays and said there was nothing he could do for me and I needed a surgeon This coming from a doctor who was just back to work from a two level discectomy on his back I took as good advice!
I found a good surgeon through a colleague at work. She recently had a similar procedure done on her back. Excellent credentials and I had a good feeling right away with him so off I went. Here is what he wants to do:
L4-L5 and L5-S1 anterior discectomy and instrumental fusion, posterior decompression and instrumented arthrodesis L4-L5, with reduction of L5-S1 listless by anchoring the L4 and S1 levels. (Basically, my L5 has broken away from the pars and slid forward 17 mm. The surgeon is going to fuse my L4-S1 from the front and back as well as clean out the nerve channels in order to eliminate the problems.)
Sounds like fun, right? Nervous and scared, you bet! But my pain is always there in the both hips, if I sit too long my back side goes numb as well as my groin. If I stand too long (more than 5-10 minutes the pain radiates through my lower right leg and my foot will go numb. And so on and so forth, including all of the other great symptoms. Because of my being in initial stages of bladder control issues and foot drop issues, I am on an urgent list and have been approved for all of this by my work comp and employer.
I am waiting for the date for the surgery at this time, due to the need to go in through the front, they require a general surgeon as well as my orthopedic surgeon for that portion. Just need to have them coordinate a date right now and I am in. (Sidenote: Due to many people using my surgeon that are on a PPO medical plan, they met their deductibles and now at the end of the year they are flooding him with surgeries. I am on an urgent list so they are going to reschedule a couple of people to get me in sooner.)
Now my true question. As a police officer I have a great concern that I may never get back to my career. I only have 8 years left until I can qualify for my service retirement with 25 years credit so that is my goal vs a medical retirement. Are there any other LEO or police officers out there that have had this or a similar surgery? Anyone had similar and been able to return to a physically demanding job? I am not ready and willing to leave my chosen career, but the pain is unbearable and I can't "work through it" anymore. I want to get back to work, I want to enjoy my family and I want to get back to coaching football on the side at the local high school. None of which I can do now.
Anyone with similar surgeries or similar line of work with tips or just anecdotal advice let me know. Thanks for your time and I will update as this progresses.