We are considering surgery for my husband Adrian to repair compression on his spinal cord in the neck area. His brother-in-law and nephew had the same operation years ago, very successfully. If Adrian doesn't get it, he will gradually (no one can predict how long) lose the ability to move his arms and legs. He is also in more danger of real harm when falling.
What I have heard and read is that any kind of surgery under anasthesia can cause worsening dementia in the elderly. Adrian and I are frightened of this possible outcome, but at the same time, I would hate to seem him lose any more mobility.
We've gotten a lot of information from doctors lately, but unless you have a medical degree yourself, you can't really understand the situation accurately. That means you have to rely on your instincts or a doctor you trust. The doctor we trust says there are risks either way and that she can't make the decision for us.
The worst part for Adrian is that he can't keep all the data in his head in order to sort it out. So he has to rely on the people around him. I worry about letting him down, either way.
We have one more surgeon to talk to, and we can continue to get third and fourth opinions. But I don't think we'll really get any more understanding.