Hello and welcome to the chronic pain section of HealingWell.
This is a great bunch of people where you will find support and understanding and a great deal of advice.
I read through your entire introduction and felt so awful for you. I do understand where you are coming from and have suffered the back pain flares on and off since I was about 19. I generally only go back to the "major" issue when I herniated the L5-S1...which is what changed my life forever. I wish I had taken care of myself better when I had the chance and could perhaps have prevented the damage I have now, but hindsight is 20-20.
Since you have been lurking for a while, you have a pretty good idea of how the site works. Of course, none of us are Drs and all of us have opinions...same thing with the meds...some work well for some, others not so great.
There are definitely programs for people like you who need medication assistance and your computer is the answer for finding them. I have found that the company who makes the med is the best start and then they often have links from there to additional legitimate med help sites. I ise several assistance "programs" that are not based on income, insurance, or assets. Just go to the actual site for the name brand med and sign up. Many of the cards can be printed directly from your computer and can be used until the hard card comes in.
When I needed additional meds and had to have a discussion with PM about it, I did my research and found out exactly which meds I could take (allergies...you understand), how much they cost, if they have a generic, how much the generic costs, and if they have a co-pay assistance program or coupon program. I took all of this with me and he used it to help decide what new scripts to give me for extended relief. The one you use does absolutely nothing for me, but I am getting a little help from the MSContin, Ultracet, Oxycodone, Xanax xr, and Robaxin. I don't think the Robaxin is the best choice for me, but it is one of the very few that I can take and it has a low co-pay.
I did have the fusion and I no longer have the same intensity in nerve pain that you describe. Other than that, my fusion was not a success and my pain is often out of control. My daugther has been raised with the understanding that Mama simply cannot do certain things and that she can. She and her daddy do things when I can't. Also, she has empathy, which is something very few children of her age (12) seem to understand these days. She understands pain, respects medictions, respects people who have medical conditions, and often finds ways to help others if she can.....all because she has a mother who needed her to understand. She does not make fun of others because she understands and I beleive that is a very valuable lesson and a positive thing to come out of situations like ours.
Although most here have not had successful fusions, I do personally know people with great success. I hope you will be one of those and can get you life back. I also agree with getting help emotionally, because you're going to need coping skills if you have this surgery. There is no shame in asking for help.
Anyway, this is way to long as an intro, but I wanted to welcome you on and give some support for you situation.
Failed TLIF L5-S1, Miltiple Bulges/Herniations, Scoliosis, Pituatary Disorder, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery, Failed Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (now trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendonitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, & Vision Issues