Sandi, I can sympathize with what a scary choice you face; I faced one similar but not nearly as difficult as yours recently. I had been told an SCS unit was the only way to really combat my pain other then drugs, and I'd rather not live my life in a haze of narcotics... the changes especially to my mental capacity have caused no ends of depression to watch my once sharp mind slip away and feel like swiss cheese. So after having a successful trial I got hit with reality; most surgeons had stopped doing the procedure because of the risks.
The long and the short of it was if my doctor could find me a surgeon, the possible outcome was a successful implant with no complications, or, an implant with compliations. Now that doesn't sound to bad. Okay, infection can be handled with medication... no big deal. But then came the big P word -- Paralysis. I could end up with decreased use to one side of my body, I could end up with more pain in new locations, or I could even end up flat out paralysized from the neck down. That last one drew me up short. I'm turning 38 this month and have an 8 year old little boy to which I am the world, and he in turn is mine. I live with my family and they would take care of us both, but the guilt that came with knowing I could saddle my family, and my son eventually, with taking care of me caused me to hesitate on my choice. Life suddenly became black and white -- live with my pain, or throw the dice and hope to come out with the best outcome and see a giant reduction in my pain, and probably my drug useage as well.
For me it came down to the surgeon and our first meeting. I knew I couldn't decide till I met the person who was potentially going to influence my life so dramatically. But when I met him I had such a positive feeling. He was able to tell me honestly how many he does a year, what sort of successes he has, and what's the worst results, and how many. The odds are heavily in my favor for success, and now, provided my MRI comes back complication free next Monday, I will be able to tell him "let's do it", with most of my confidence still intact.
Oh that little voice pops up in the back of my head and nags and worries me, but I try to point a mental shot gun at it and tell it to shut the heck up!
I have to much to gain.
The surgeon explained it like this to me: If there is a rock outside your door, chances are half the time you're going to trip over it. Now if there's a pile of pillows on the other side, most people would ignore the rock and not worry about it, but if there's a pit full of pitchforks they'd be more inclined to move that rock. Still, in the end the numbers for the odds on whether or not you'd trip over that rock and fall in the pit don't mean much.... you either move the rock or you don't.
So I guess you have to ask yourself ... is it worth moving that rock?
*gentle hugs* You do what you feel is right in your heart. If you choose not to, no one will think less of you. If you choose, you know we'll all be here praying for the best possible outcome for you.