I can SO relate to your
I can SO relate to your story. I was goaded into spinal fusion surgery (L4-5, L5-S1) by my primary care physician. I put it off for 2 years, went through extensive physical therapy, explored disk replacement, sought a second opinion at UCLA, talked to the surgeon's patients. When all else failed, I relented and had the surgery. What a disaster! My pre-surgery sciatica was on my left side. When I came out of surgery, my RIGHT leg was numb from hip to toe. And I had a spinal fluid leak that required going into surgery again. A "one week" hospital stay ended up being 30 days. The right leg neuropathy persisted. I complained constantly to the surgeon. He ordered a CT myelogram, which I had done. When I called to schedule a follow-up appt. with the surgeon (this was ~2 months after leaving the hospital), I couldn't reach anyone at his office. Long story short, the surgeon skipped the country! No one knew, or was willing to say, why. My GP who had referred him to me, was also in the dark(or so he said).
Well, my life has completely changed. I now suffer from chronic pain, much worse than the pre-surgery pain, and gawdawful nerve pain in my right leg that makes every day a new and different experience in misery - burning, stabbing, stinging, shocking - you name it, it has happened. My leg has a mind of its own, twitching and cramping and causing general mayhem, including screwing up my balance. I've had several falls as a result of it.
I would have LOVED to sue the pants off the surgeon, but, well, he has disappeared to who-knows-where. I tell everyone who will listen: DO NOT HAVE SPINAL FUSION SURGERY!!!