Hang in there, Amanda. I really hope that we can both get through this without surgery. Ouch - the very idea of anybody messing with my spine gives me the creeps. Ask if there are non-surgical things that can be tried first, like physical therapy.
I'm still waiting to hear from my doc, and she is probably having a rough time with Aetna - they are so hateful!
Meanwhile, Jeff gave me a book called Yoga for Wimps. It has some gentle exercises specifically for lower back pain, so I'm trying those. I actually felt like going for a walk today, and walked down the block and back.
Keep us informed.