This is my first posting here. In late march of this year, I had L5 S1 fusion with a metal support installed (I'm now the proud owner of a piece of titanium). My recovery has been exceptionally slow, to say the least.
Here's my scenario. I'm a 53 year old male. I'm in good to very good physical shape, prior to this adventure I was a committed runner; I generally ran 2-3 half marathons per year, with the necessary training being done on a weekly basis (20 miles per week, more or less). About 2 years ago I started noticing pain in my left calf. It was worse if I was standing still; walking, running or sitting mitigated the pain nicely. I did what pretty much any guy would do, and ignored it for a year. At that point, it got worse to the point where it hurt walking, running, or standing. Diagnosed as sciatic issues, I began PT and cortisone injection therapy. It continued to get progressively worse, to the point where my doctor decided surgery was the only answer. The MRI indicated a bone spur, a collapsing disk, and a little stenosis that may or may not have been a problem. During surgery, he discovered a lot of arthritis, two grape-sized cysts, and also noted that I actually have 6 lumbar verteba. He cleaned up the arthritis, removed the bone spur and the cysts, and performed a diskectomy along wiith installing the titanium appliance. He informed that he did "nudge" the nerve during surgery, and that I could expect pain for a while.
Fast forward to today, exactly 7 weeks post procedure. The scar has been healing very nicely, no issues whatsoever. The pain in my leg, however, is still bad. Really bad. I can BARELY walk half of a mile. Pain is on the left side, in the foot, calf, knee region, and left gluteal region. I'm taking percocet (5/325 * 1.5) in the morning and Advil (600mg) in the afternoon, which barely take the edge off the pain.
Here's my question. Given the extent of the procedure, is this amount of lingering pain normal? Can I expect it to continue for another month or so, and then gradually improve? Added to this scenario is that I had to relocate for my job 4 weeks ago (three states away from my old residence), so it isn't easy to get back with my original surgeon. I am in the process of locating a good Orthopedist, but it isn't easy (my employer moved me from an eastern seaboard city where doctors are pleniful to a small town area).
Am I "normal?" When, if ever, should I begin PT? And, longer term, when can I think about running again?