Re: Just had L4-S1 fusion on March 6th; how long before having a semi-normal life?
You may have more luck with your question on the back pain board as most of us here are dealing with cervical (neck) issues.
However, as luck would have it I had an L5-S1 fusion in 1993. I had to wear a brace for nearly 6 months post-op. But I was young (in my mid-20s) so I had to be careful but I did quite well.
Be careful and conservative until you have a definitive full fusion - then for the rest of your life be conscious of how you lift, bend and twist. After 14 years I am doing quite well - I can tell when I've overdone it with some pain in my back but I can do most activities well. The only thing I have a problem with is mopping or shoveling snow - or any activity where you bend a lot. Otherwise I don't think about it much.
Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08