Good morning Randy!
Were sorry to hear of your mothers medical problems, and it sure sounds like you have great respect and love for her.
One of the things, that I personally think is unhealthy mentally is to look for all the problems with this type of suregey. Don't get me wrong!.... a patient needs to know the risk....but I asure you,....you can find all kinds of horror stories.
If your mother has had three opinions from surgeons, then she may indeed need it....but again, there are risk involved for everyone. I'm wondering if you both asked the question of what will may happen if she refuses to have it done? What do they say about that?
It sounds like they want to go in and remove material to make more room for the spinal cord. If I had the choice of either a fusion or a clean up job....I would elect for the clean up by a long shot.
As you know,...none of us are Dr's here, and we cannot tell you what to do. All surgeries have risk associated with them. I know it's not an easy choice to make...and nobody can asure you a successful out come on it.
If, there was a chance that no more damage would occur, and her pain could managed with pain med's...well that would be another option. However....Personally for me....the dependancy of pain meds is not a fun road either.
Good luck to you and your mother, as you decide what to do. Sorry I could not be of much help...but I simply cannot tell you what to do. Everyone is different...she could do just fine...and than again...she could still wind up with pain.