Hi and welcome to the Chiari forum,
You are correct , we are all different in how we will respond to this surgery and the rate of recovery....having the right Dr is key !
As long as your Dr is well informed and experienced with Chiari and ALL related conditions things should go well for you...but it is those related conditions that will affect your recovery.
I had surgery in '09 not sure what my normal is anymore....but it took several years before I could do some things I had to avoid for far too long because of the possibility of triggering symptoms.
Most symptoms do re surface post op, and that is part of the normal healing process....the nerves were not working properly before due to compression....after they are over worked and it takes time to calm back down.
Surgery was definitely helpful for me and I would do it again if it were ever needed.
I hope I answered most of your questions if not, ask again...or if I created new ones....ask them too.
Please make sure you see a Chiari neurosurgeon who is successful. Dr. Greenfield in New York is right now. Dr. Rosner also is a great choice. My decompression surgery was a failure because the neurosurgeon who did it remove too much Bone. Chiari is a progressive condition and there is no cure. There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet so please be careful and double check your findings by comparisons. Decompression surgery helps to slow the progression of Chiari. My recovery was painful but went fairly smooth. It's brain surgery so of course it's going to be painful. It took about six weeks for the symptoms to become tolerable. It takes a year at least for your body to recover from brain surgery. I did manage to go back to work in six weeks. However, I am very Taipei and I'm always pushing myself. As the swelling went down in my brain, it's slid backwards and my cerebellum was hanging out into my spinal area. This is called cerebullar ptosis or brain slumping. I had a second surgery to install a titanium mesh plate and screws. This was to hold up my sagging cerebellum. As of now, my mash has broken and my cerebellum is once again sitting in my spinal area. Now I need a surgery to have the mesh plate fixed. I also need a fusion because my disks have degenerated and are bulging. I also need to have a fusion because I have craniocervical instability. This is been a nightmare for me. However, that does not mean that your surgery will not alleviate your symptoms and that you will be able to continue a fairly normal life.
We do have a list that was compiled by the members here of Drs they have been to, treated by and liked.
This list is not a referral nor an endorsement for those listed, it is meant to be used as a tool to research Drs.
Keep in mind you may need to travel to get to a Dr that is right for you.