In reply to your question regarding loss of bladder and bowel I can tell you that I too have lost these functions.In Sept. 2000 I severely ruptured/herniated L5 to the point of causing cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome refers to a group of nerves that take the place of the spinal cord in the lower region of the spine. In my case, this bundle of nerves was cut because a piece of the L5 disc fractured off and lodged itself lower in the canal where it damaged quite a few nerves. In addition to the spinal stenosis have they diagnosed you with anything else?As for your doctor telling you how mild the pain is, how would he know if he hasnt walked in your shoes? I have had to deal with new doctors (many of them)out of the region where I live because I feel that I am not getting the care or the answers I deserve. My advice is dont stop pestering your doctor until he refers you to someone who will be able to help you releave the pain you are in and to help you with the bladder and bowel problem.(I am seeing a spinal specialist urologist) In my case I wont be regaining these functions because the hospital did not realize the seriousness of my condition and left me for 6 days before surgery was finally performed.Good luck to you.