Re: degenerative disorder
I suffered from Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) - trouble with the bones and discs in my neck - for about 12 years before it was diagnosed, and have had 4 surgeries since then to try and stabilize things. I certainly had fear of surgery, especially on my neck, but I am much better off now, and would have opted for the surgery sooner if I had it to do over again. I would be better off now, had my problem been addressed sooner.
Each case is different, and the big thing is to get hooked up with doctors that you trust, and then follow their advice. DDD can have consequences that are worse than having surgery.
The doctors may have you pursue a course of conservative treatments (like medication, physical therapy, and time, etc) to see if that can resolve the problems. But the risk of letting this go on too long is permanent nerve damage, and that is why you need to have a good team of doctors monitoring your situation. This is a good place to learn more about this condition, and how others are dealing with it.
I would recommend you consult with the neurosurgeon sooner than later - getting that opinion now doesn't necessarily mean you are deciding to go ahead with surgery now, but you might as well find out if your particular condition is the type that could reasonably be expected to improve with the conservative treatments.