Re: 18months post acdf..couldn't be better. except.
Please remember that 1980 was nearly 30 years ago. All surgical processes and methods have progressed tremendously since then. So although it may be hard, you have to remove your relative's experience from the decision process. But not only because it was 20-30 years ago, but because everybody's specific problem is different medically. Use all the research you can but put special emphasis on your personal medical problems and symptoms and the expertise provided by today's physicians.
If it helps I am happy with the results of all my lumbar and cervical surgeries. I have some unique problems (lax ligaments) which have led to repeat surgeries as my joints shift too much. But even my initial lumbar surgery in 1987 was a success. And my ACDF in 2006 was a life saver as it removed nerve pain, tingling and numbness 80%.
Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08