RA and the “Red Car Syndrome”

I’m generally amazed at the phenomenon known informally as “red car syndrome”.  The concept goes that you buy a new car, and suddenly, you start seeing that same car everywhere you go.  The others were always on the road, but they didn’t have specific meaning to you, so you didn’t notice them before.  Because we have so many messages coming at us every second, we must filter based on what’s important to us, and we do it in every aspect of our lives.

In business, sales/marketing professionals like me spend lots of time working to reach prospects with “active pain” – in other words, when the prospect has full awareness of a problem for which we have a potential solution.  This gives us the best chance of getting past the prospect’s filter and getting a response.

For the last year, RA has been my “red car”.  Sure, it’s not as glamorous as the shiny Corvette my son wants in 10 years :), but now that I am painfully aware (literally) of the disease, I see information about it everywhere.  Until I started having suspicious symptoms in late 2009, I had no idea what RA really was, and I missed the signals in my everyday life.  These days, I see RA references peppered throughout my regular activities:

  • I’ve subscribed to Cooking Light for 10 years, but never noticed the monthly Enbrel ads, which I now review regularly.
  • I’m hugely addicted to Law & Order: SVU, and no, I’m not ashamed to admit it.  When I work from home, I often have it on in the background to keep me company.  Almost every episode contains an ad for one of the biologic treatments, usually Enbrel or Simponi.  Of course, these ads now get my full attention.
  • Last night, I was playing the CSI: Deadly Intent Xbox 360 game (notice a theme in my interests?), and had to research a pill found at the crime scene.  When I looked it up in the medical database, I was shocked to see that it was Methotrexate.   The game explained that it is a drug commonly used in treating certain cancers and autoimmune diseases, and that it’s available in pill and injectable form.  Of course, I knew that, because I’ve been injecting myself with it every Monday evening since March 2010.

I’m not self-centered enough to believe that these messages have just started appearing since I was diagnosed, but wow.  I went from blissfully unaware of the red car to being run over by it daily.  It’s truly shocking to realize how much information is available to us, once we have the capacity to see it.

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8 thoughts on “RA and the “Red Car Syndrome”

  1. trish says:

    Jessica,
    What a great post! I have been doing the same thing, noticing every ad or comment…. it’s also interesting how you start hearing more and more of others that have RA or a similiar auto-immune illness. Your sense of awareness is truly altered. My kids are also saying, look Mom it’s the Enbrel commercial 🙂

    • Great point, Trish! I should have included that as a bullet — finding others (like you :)) who have RA/autoimmune diseases, when you may have known no one prior to your diagnosis. Crazy, for sure. And I love that your kids’ awareness is impacted too. My son is the same way!!!

  2. Kim says:

    I love reading your posts, though they make me miss you dearly. I think you are a terrific spokesperson for this disease and I do believe that this kind of communication and sharing has substantial value and significance. Besides, I just like listening to what you have to say.

  3. Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I
    genuinely enjoy reading through your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?

    Many thanks!

    • Thanks for reading, and for writing!

      In the “Sites I Love” section of my blog, I have listed a bunch of my favorites for further reading. Some are blogs, like mine, and some are medical or community sites. I hope they’re helpful to you!

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