Keep in mind we all can have very different experiences with this surgery. I had my lumbar fusionL4-5) Nov.27,2006, the only thing that it has helped is the stability of my spine. I still have a lot of leg pain when I am active but now it is in both legs and not just my left leg, and still have to get the occasional epidural for back pain. My pain meds are stronger now than they were before surgery. That being said I might have waited to long to have surgery and maybe the nerve damage was already permanent. The biggest thing that I feel I wasn't prepared for was the pain you have when you wake up. On a scale of 1-10 it was a fifteen. It did calm done to a tolerable level after a couple of hours on the morphine pump. I hate to say this but I feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life. Again everyone is different and many people do go one to have a normal active life.