Hi, Mark ~
I think that your 'birthday present' is one you wish you could return for a refund - but I admire your approach to the challenge, including your attitude and the research you're doing. I wish every newly-diagnosed AN patient was as diligent in seeking a full range of options. However, I have to caution you on avoiding the dreaded 'AN information overload' that can come with too much research in too short a time-span., rendering you confused and directionless.
I have to agree with Dr. Blevins that an 'all-day surgery' (mine lasted just under 9 hours) with 24-48 hours in ICU and a 3-5 day hospital stay is average. That was my experience. I was in ICU longer due to a bed shortage but was discharged exactly 5 days after I was admitted. 'A few months' for recovery is a tad ambiguous but not really incorrect. Most AN post-op patients return to work within six weeks. Three months would be a fair estimation for recovery. The first few days at home are spent napping but as your strength returns, you'll do more and more. All this assumes a complication-free surgery, of course, which is the norm but cannot be guaranteed, of course.
Radiation treatment, being non-invasive, carries no overnight hospital stay and a much faster recovery, although, again, it's not guaranteed to be without some risks.
Ultimately, the decision rests with you, alone, as you well know. Frankly, it's a bit of a gamble but one that, eventually, you'll have to take. We all want an excellent outcome and do what we can to assure that- but nothing is guaranteed. That's the tough part. The good part is that you have a benign tumor and it is treatable. Most AN patients have a good outcome. I'm one of those, and I underwent both surgery (retro) and radiation (FSR) in a pre-planned attack on my unwanted, large AN. So far, I seem to have won the battle. I expect that you will too.