Punch, to tell you the truth the fusions were a success in the surgeons eyes because I did fuse very well but I still have daily continuous lower back and neck pain. It did help with the radiating pain I had in my left arm & shoulder, also with the radiating pain from the femoral nerve being pinched which caused pain in the groin area then down the front of my right leg. It's been 3 yrs since my fusions, I am still getting injections, taking pain meds, muscle relaxers, tylenol anything to try to ease the pain. I hate to give you a bleak outlook but this is the way it is for me.
I'm now 52 yrs old and have had chronic pain for 9 yrs now. Mine is all hereditary from my father who became disabled at age 57 after 2 fusion surgeries. My sister also has chronic pain and just had her first back surgery. Arthritis has set in along with another bulging disc above my lumbar fusion (which is common after fusion).
I know there are people out there with great success stories after their fusion surgeries but this is a chronic pain forum so I don't think your going to hear alot of success stories here, if they aren't in pain there's not a reason to be here.
I don't mean to scare you Leisa but before my lumbar fusion I had waited until my pain was so bad I could hardly walk in an upright position anymore. I tried all the non-invasive procedures out there including injections, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, never had real meds for pain due to my job (I worked around moving equipment and drove forklift for 10 yrs.) Sometimes I wish I hadn't waited so long because I think I may have made things worse by letting the nerves get so damaged from being pinched for so long.
Anyway, that's my horror story. Sorry I can't give you something more positive.
DDD, osteoarthritis, fusion surgeries C-5/7 & L-4/5 both in 2006, torn meniscus left knee 2000 & 2002, buldging disc L-2/3