Hi - this is the first forum I have ever joined but after reading some discussions I decided that I definitely need to be here. I am scheduled for L5/S1 fusion with dual pars defect repair, on Nov 3 - three weeks from today. I have been suffering with left low back pain which radiates into my butt, down my leg with tingling in calf and foot for almost 2 years. It started as stiffness sitting and getting up to the point where it is painful to sit and sometimes stand - walking is my favorite activity. I tried shots, chiropractic, and PT - nothing really helped. I finally went to see a neurosurgeon who suggested the surgery. I went to see a second doctor who said the surgery would definitely help. I am currently seeing a more aggressive chiropractor who says he can "unwind" all of the problems that have occurred because of my back pain and maybe avoid surgery. I also have appointments with two more neurosurgeons for two more opinions. I am 53 and have been very active all of my life - a 5K runner (also ran two marathons), softball, soccer, snowboarding, and lots of work in the gym. I have been able to keep a strong core through all the pain - which has helped alot. I have adapted to using my abs for everything - getting up, rolling over in bed, etc. I still go to the gym twice a week but all I do it walking on the treadmill, planks, simple weights lying down, and various leg machines - a LOT less than I was doing 2 years ago. I am not looking to get back to running, soccer or softball, but I would like to be able to live everyday without pain, sit and stand without pain, and snowboard comfortably (and sit on the lift without pain). The doctor doing the surgery said I should be able to do most things after one year, as long as I am patient. He says that I the benefit of being in good shape going in. He says snowboarding should not be a problem as long as I don't go crazy. I am 53 (almost 54) - I am done being crazy. I had a motto - run the risk of wearing out, rather than rusting out. So - I am wearing out and it's not fun. But, I had fun doing it. I've had several knee and shoulder surgeries, which didn't really scare me. This one SCARES me. Thus the reason for four opinions. But I have a lot of living to do and I don't want to live with every day pain. My ortho doctor told me to wait until I can't stand it anymore because there are so many risks. But I don't want to risk it getting worse and delay getting back to pain free. I am willing to take the risks. So - anyone out there have a similar situation? Anyone think I should wait?