Hi Jerry ~ It DOES sound like your symptoms are progressing rather quickly. I'm surprised that NO ONE offered ANY conservative treatment for you. But, surgeons don't like to do that -- they like to cut.
I can't say whether or not it would have slowed down the progression of the symptoms or not.
The fact that you have some severe stenosis obviously suggests that conservative care won't work.
So surgery is the only route to go at this time. If you wait too long, you could end up with permanent nerve damage among other things. So don't put this off any longer.
I'm also a smoker, and I've had several surgeries, including 2 open surgeries (not micro) on the spine. The anesthesiologist will talk to you prior to surgery and will answer any questions you may have about your surgery, and will help to calm your concerns.
Don't be afraid to ask him ANY questions you may have.
I wish you the very best! PLEASE let us know as soon as you can how your surgery went and how you're doing, okay? We REALLY do care.
Others will want to know too, who might be facing the same surgery. God bless and please take care. Hugs, Lee