I am about 5 weeks out from having my L4-S1 vertebrae fused together. Believe me it was my last option. I had a discectamy in 2002 from a skiing accident. Both my L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs were completely blown out, pinching my sciatic nerve and giving me incredible leg pain and weakness, not to mention stabbing lower back pain. The 2002 discectamy removed all leg pain immediately, and I was back skiing in about 3 months. But once you have an operation on the disc, it weakens the overall structure and I developed horrible degenerative disc disease. After 6 seasons of skiing 50-100 days a year at Crested Butte, my L5-S1 disc wore down to the point that it was gone and my bones were simply rubbing on each other, making every movement very painful. My L4-L5 was again badly herniated, bulging, and pinching nerves. I tried every option available, and ultimately fusion was my only option. Since I had a problem at 2 levels, artificial discs were not an option, they can only replace the disc if you have a 1 level problem.
I am 30 years old, rather young for this type of surgery. I am not able to bend or twist for 8-12 weeks, I wear a supportive back brace, and can not start physical therapy until I am 8 weeks out. I am feeling pretty damn good suprisingly, my nerve pain is gone, I am feeling stronger every day, and my neuro-surgeon is the best in Denver and says I can ski in 6 months. 6 months will put me at December 21, just in time to pull out my JJ's and be ready for pow (hopeful thinking I know). My question is, has anyone here had a similar surgery? What was your recovery like, and has it hindered your skiing ability? Any help is appreciated!