I am a 65 years old female.  I have had back problems since age 32, from scolosis to herniated disc.  Within the last 3 years my back has gotten progressively worse.  Now I have degenerative disc disease, NO sign of osteoporosis, thank God, the herniated disc has self fused L4-5 and spinal stenosis.  I can't walk more than 50 ft. without stopping, I can walk forever at the stores as long as I have a wagon to lean on.  I can't dance anymore, I can't stand to make a meal or do dishes.  Vacuuming is very painful but I do it in moderation.

Recently after 2 MRI's over 1 1/2 years, epidural steroid shots, PT and a tens unit, I went to a surgeon.  She wants to do an x-stop spacer between L4-5 area.  I am not too worried about that procedure, home the same day or no later than the next.  What I am afraid of is what can I do but sit for 30 min., walk up to 1 hour (later) and lie down. 

I have been told that I have to wear a corset, can't bend backwards, twist or drive 2-3 weeks.  I am worried about my hygiene (showers, toilet duties) to name a few.  I won't have to sleep with the corset, but how do I turn over, can I sleep on my side, how do I get out of bed.  I want to know this so I can practice these steps before the operation.  I know, I am a worry wart, but concerned how long I could be laid up.  My sister-in-law couldn't do anything for 3 months. I have a dog and live alone and my daughter will come over every few days to help clean.  Can I cook?  Can I bend forward to put dishes in washer or do laundry, as long as it isn't heavy?

The operation will be sometime in June and don't look forward to being laid up over the summer.  I live in Maine and love to travel and will have someone to go with so I won't have to drive.  Would appreciate it if someone out here can tell me if they have had that operation and what they could and couldn't do.  thank, Pam