Being terrified is pretty common. The fact the you have been to three neurosurgeons tells me that you have been doing your homework.
I am a Chiarian 13 years post op. There is life after surgery. I live a pretty normal life. Moving to Phoenix also helped.
Here are a few thoughts:
the experience of your selected neurosurgeon is key. Research him or her thoroughly and talk to actual patients who have had surgery with your doc.
if you need to go to a different state or special clinic to get your surgery, do it. A bad doc (or an experimental one) is going to cause you worse pain than you need. Raise money on gofundme if you are struggling with insurance
how old are you? Your age will be factor in your recovery. The younger you are the better and easier to get back to normal life.
your surgeons’ promise of 2 months recovery is questionable. You will recover on your own body’s terms. Again. The younger you are the better, and the better support system you have the better. Do NOT try to return to normal life before you are ready. Have someone available to help vacuum, pick things off the floor, carry groceries, etc.
I was 35 when I had my surgery. I was symptomatic for 18 months prior. It was very difficult to recover fully. But yes after two months I felt okay and thought I could get back to same routine. I got back to lifting weights too soon and injured myself.
over the years, I have found that I need to sleep on a particular side, rest and / or heat my head with a heating pad, and stay out of cold and wet environments. I also stay very active with low-impact t aerobic activity (stairmaster while holding my body straight, biking,etc.). Looking down sucks and makes my dizzy, as does trying to pick up big laundry buckets or doing full-fledged grocery shopping. I shop every day and carry back what I buy on my bike. I do no weight lifting whatsoever. If I wash the floor, I stand up and walk for a bit after. You too will find the little life adjustments you need to make to live normally after surgery. I am probably the poster girl for surgery success. Nobody I mean has any idea that I have this condition.
After a few weeks, I felt better. But
It took me a full year to feel normal. And then I learned different things to not reinjure myself and continue to feel good. I take no meds.
You will have your own stuff. But, having surgery was the best thing I ever did. But I’m not sure it would have been if I went to one of the other neurosurgeons I saw but did not select. Check out your doc thoroughly. You will not die of chiari. If you need to spend 3, 4, or 6 more weeks making sure you have the greatest doc, do it. A delay, while tiring to you, will not change your outcome.
For what it’s worth, my doc was John Ruge in Chicago. There are some great docs in NY, and one named peter nakaji in Phoenix.
If you have a good doc, yes, you’ll feel better in a few weeks, be back to normal stuff in 4-6 months, and feel pretty great in a year.
Please be careful picking your doc.
You didn’t mention what your symptoms are, but when you talk with previous patients compare notes and consider age.
Herniation lengths mean zero.