FRS – Functional Rating Scale or Faulty Reality Scheme
Another month has gone by and my FRS – Functional Rating Scale score comes in at 41 again. This should indicate that there has been little to no progression in my condition for the last 14 months. If only that were true!
Two years ago, my rating on the scale was 48 or fully able-bodied. I had some significant symptoms already though. One year ago, while my score was still showing at 41, I could still walk a mile or so with a cane and could climb stairs with relative ease albeit with some assistance from my arms.
Today, although I still have the same score, I wear compression socks 100% of the time and I wear Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs) most of the time. I can no longer climb stairs and cannot walk with a cane more than a few steps.
If this disease stays confined to my lower limbs only, I will likely only lose a couple more points over the next couple of years but will almost certainly be in a wheelchair full-time. Many other pALS with scores much lower than 40 are still fully functional. The reason that the FRS – Functional Rating Scale fails is that it is trying to impose a simple measurement to a complex and varied disease.
In my case, having been diagnosed with the PMA variant of ALS/MND, almost 2 years after diagnosis, I still have only Lower Motor Neuron symptoms. Many of the areas covered by the FRS Scale relate to Upper Motor Neurons and therefore will (hopefully) not decline. Although I will continue to update my FRS score, I have come to realise that it is NOT an effective measure of the degree of impairment or disease progression for many MND or ALS sufferers in general and for PMA patients in particular.
You can find further information about the FRS – Functional Rating Scale here