When I met with the neurosurgeon we decided to go ahead with the back surgery. He said the MRI was a textbook picture of a disc bulge, so that's good I think. The surgery took 90 minutes and he ended up leaving the disc alone as it was ok and just removed debris and scar tissue. When I woke up the pain in my leg and back was gone and I was able to walk immediately.
I have some numbness in my toes and calf but they said this is normal as they moved the nerve around. Hopefully it'll go away in a week or so. I have gone for short walks down the block and back and they're pretty tiring. It'll be interesting to see if we can make it up any mountains this year in the spring.