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Rare diagnosis, unique friendship and hope to reach others who might be suffering in silence

For months both dealt with misdiagnosis, needless pain and endless worry.

And they didn't know about each other's plight until they went on facebook.

"I went in with shoulder pain. Then back pain," recalled Lisa Przybyla of Franklin. "The doctors said I was fine. Sent me home with pain pills and muscle relaxers."

It is a struggle Tammi Washington of Brookfield knew all too well.

"So, I just kept going back in and finally I sat in the emergency room and refused to leave," Washington tells CBS 58 News.

In the end, both women had a rare form of lung cancer that has nothing to do with smoking or the environment.

"It is ALK or  Anaplastic lymphoma kinase," explains Przybyla. "It's a gene mutation."

Washington and Przybyla were forced to become their own advocates and do the leg work to figure out what exactly they had and how they could get help.

Now both are joining forces and will take part in the Lung Force Walk on Sunday, October 1st at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

They were planning to meet then, but at the invite of CBS 58 News had their first meeting on the CBS 58 News at 4.

They believe they're are others like them out there suffering in silence and they don't want them to go through the delay in diagnosis that proved to be such a hardship.

"There are treatments to target the protein," explained Washington. "There are treatments  but it changes around and we need to figure out where this resistance coming from."

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