Re: over 3 years of Dr's dismissing symptoms
I wanted to tell you that I have a friend who had a fusion several years ago that never provided nerve pain relief. Her doctor, who is head of the spine surgery program at a big teaching hospital and who has a big reputation, kept telling her first that she just needed time...and then after a year or so, started telling her that her MRI looked great and that there was no reason she should be in pain. Eventually he sent her to a pain psychologist so she could learn to deal with it...and he implied that the pain was all in her head.
I kept encouraging her to get other opinions, which she did. When the new surgeons would hear who her surgeon was, they would basically concur with him, telling her the surgery looked great. Finally a surgeon who primarily deals with revision surgeries looked at her MRI and felt something wasn't quite right. He ordered a bone scan and some other tests and eventually determined that she was not fused -- one area was not complete and a screw was going through her L4 nerve root. Finally after years of being told the pain was in her head, she had an answer.
She ended up having a complex revision surgery from which she is still recovering.
It may turn out that you have a similar situation where something isn't quite right with your surgery.
I'm glad you have the swimming to provide a little relief from the constant pain. I wasn't allowed to swim on my stomach except when using a snorkel up until recently. (I had spondylolisthesis.)