Hi Andew! I'm so sorry your wife is in such pain. I probably won't be much help, but I had 2 surgeries last fall for a lumbar facet-joint cystic tumor (benign) for which I needed a lumbar laminectomy @ L4-5 w/ decompression & a foraminotomy (nerve-release procedure). I was doing fine until I developed a post-surgical dural leak & after 2 weeks of unsucessful conservative (non-invasive) treatment, went back for another surgery to repair the leak. Ugh! I can't remember having as much pain the 1st time, for the cyst removal....it was the 2nd surgery for the dural repair that left me w/ all the current complications.
So if your wife needs surgery & it goes well (as my 1st one did) she should feel much better afterwards. The pain from the pressure of the cyst on your spine is gone completely....it's the incision & muscle pain that is worse, but that can be somewhat reduced w/ the right meds & rest afterwards.
Cysts do recur, as whatever caused them often causes another one. My facet joints are all worn down & that's what produced the cyst @ the lumbar facet joint. It is nothing you can prevent, so your wife should not feel she caused it in any way. Just the way your body responds to movement, activity level, biomechanics as you age, etc. I was very active & ver fit---isn't that what they tell you to be?! Yet my neuro implied that if I'd been less so, perhaps the cyst wouldn't have developed....! But you can't go back!
Anyway, not much help from me other than to send my thoughts for your wife's comfort as she makes the decision to treat her cyst in whatever way she & her doctor decide. I've heard that some can be injected to reduce their size, but in my case it was large & was causing nerve impingement, so I went w/ the surgery.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
2 lumbar surgeries for L4-L5-S1 cystic tumor & post-surgical CSF leak complications. (Fall of '06). Central canal stenosis, severe degnerative arthrosis, grade 1 (21% shift) spondylolisthesis @ L5-S1 area, sensory & nerve function loss & radiculopathy in r leg/foot, on-going facet pain, sacral/illiac pain, lots of epidural fibrosis @ L5/S1.