I had an ACDF on my neck a month ago. No one knows how painful a herniated disc can be unless they go through it themselves. How can one feel like eating when they are in such pain? How can one sleep when they are in such pain? The heating pad was my best friend because the narcotic medications and muscle relaxers did nothing for the pain. Neither did the epidural. As soon as I woke from my surgery my arm and neck pain were gone.
I also know what you mean by having your life back. There is no quality of life when you are in constant pain. I'm so glad I found someone locally who was willing to even consult with me let alone do surgery. I know I will have to have PT but at least the sharp stabbing pains I had in my neck and arms are finally gone.