I want to share my story for those of you considering fusion but are hard pressed to find a success story. I was injured almost 6 years ago. I herniated L5-S1 falling down stairs. I endured extensive pain and managed via injections, hard workouts, and antiinflamatory medications. I was offered fusion when I first was injured but after reading so many failed fusion stories I was honestly petrified. About a year ago when injections stopped lasting and my injury was impacting basic day to day activities, I made the decision to proceed with fusion. I had an updated MRI, was told I had zero disc remaining, had stenosis, and no space between my vertabrae. I have never been so nervous and scared. I worked out up until the day I went into the OR. I even PRed an olympic lifting complex 2 days before surgery. I share this because I believe my core strength was a huge factor in my surgery success and was one of the only reasons I was even functional before I had surgery. I had fusion on Feb 7th. I was in the hospital 2 nights. I came home to my husband and 3 small boys (ages 6, 3,1). I needed no real assistance when I got home for my own personal care. I drove and was off pain meds by Feb. 13th. It was a couple of weeks before I was able to be left alone with the boys. Mostly because of the lifting restriction and the 1 year old is still in a crib and diapers. I took a full 5 weeks off of work from my stressful management/desk job, but if I was not being paid at 100% for my time off I could have went back at 2-3 weeks. I am grateful I was able to take the 5 weeks and was very well rested when I went back to work. I was walking 3-4 miles every other day from the day I got out of the hospital and have not stopped walking. I added some basic body weight movements at 6 weeks per my Doctor (incline pushups, squats, steps up, various stretches). At around 10 weeks I started slow jogging, spinning class, planks, and a few other stretches. Yesterday I went to my 12 week follow up. I am basically pain free. I still have muscle tightness and was told that will continue to improve with exercise and stretching. My Doctor released me to start my full exercise program from presurgery. Today I did some very light weightlifting (snatch, clean and jerk, and front squat). I was tired and my muscles and balance will take time to get back in shape, but my back feels wonderful. I kept it very light/around 50 percent of my previous PR weights and focused on form and good movement. I could not be happier with the surgery outcome and the impact it is having on my life. My only regret is waiting so long. My Doctor did tell me that he has seen people with the exact same injury and same anatomy as me and they did not have a successful outcome. He said a huge part to success is putting in the hard work needed to recover and having a positive outlook and attitude. I am also very young (just turned 40) for this surgery. I think that also helped with my outcome. This surgery has been life changing for me in so many ways. I am so very grateful for the outcome even though I still have a long road ahead to get to where I want to be long term with my fitness but things are going in the right direction.