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I am writing this as a follow up to my surgery 5 months ago in April. I notice that most people post prior to surgery and maybe just after. In addition most of the posts are negative due to them either having issues or unrealistic expectations. The people who do well just move on. I felt like it was the correct thing to do to add my experience.
I had surgery in late April for Lumbar Fusion L4/L5. It was done minimally invasive. I had bad sciatica, walking issues, back pain, drop foot, numbness in my toes you name it. It had gotten to the point of no return and I knew if I didn't take action it might become permanent. After much research I found a very highly regarded surgeon in my area (Yonkers, NY) who took my insurance (GHI). He was the chief of surgery and only did spine surgery. He read my MRI and very quickly diagnosed the issue as degenerative spondylolisthesis with the disc impinging on the nerve. When I looked this up he hit it right on the nose. The symptoms were me to a tee. He recommended surgery and a few weeks later I was under the knife. My back was very sore right after surgery but that was to be expected. He made me walk the first day and I went home the next day. I only took the Percoset for the first week and very little as the first few days passed. You don't want to mess too much with that stuff. I took Tylenol after that. Luckily I am good with pain.
Over the course of the next few weeks I made it a point to initially walk in the house and then after the first week go outside and walk more everyday. The first week was very tough as my stamina and legs were weak. In short time I improved steadily. I was driving in a month. I stayed out of work almost 3 months as I was fortunate to have banked lots of time so I used it. It is now almost 5 months post op and I am doing great. No more drop foot, no more toe numbness, my walking gait is back to virtually normal, legs are stronger and I am feeling more and more like myself. My back still gets stiff from time to time if I am laying down but I am sure that too will improve. I had a 3rd follow-up yesterday and the x-rays were perfect. The fusion is very strong and he said I can get more active again.
I have written this specifically so people can see that some and probably most do very well. You do not have live in pain. Do your research, find the right doctor. Don't settle. Get a spine specialist. During the rehab period be as active as you reasonably can. Listen to your body but push yourself a little. The worst thing you can do is lay down all the time and take narcotics. I really think that for me choosing the minimally invasive surgery and walking was the key.