its been 4 months since fusion L4-L5. i've posted a few times about feeling depressed, feeling better and about this looong recovery period( a year to see if bones have fused.) today i here to ask what is new normal? i'm a nurse. 65,working full time. i have a sort of desk job, but most days i have to be up and down and checking on things in the facility.the pain prior to surgery is gone but when i am walkin or standing for 10-15 minutes i have tightnes in lower back and pulling on right lower back which is relieved by sitting down i am tired at end of day and usually take 10 mg percocet when i get home. 2 days ago i had to go to an open house and see patients in the hospital. i was standing and walking for about 1-2 hours and by that evening my legs were so stiff they felt like tree trunks, i had pain across hips, lower back, and down both legs. could not sleep cause could not get relief of pain and could not get into comfortable position. took 2 percocet and did feel better yesterday but still have pain in middle of lower back. can u guys tell me if you find increased discomfort after 4 months? i am worried that my fusion is failing, feeling guilty because when i returned to work at 9 weeks out i started smoking again (the surgeon told me to quit a month before surgery so i had not smoked for 3 months ) is this new normal, is recovery up and down like this instead of a steady progression toward healing? thanks for any advice you can share about your recovery.