Q&A with Darla Zachary Sims


Darla Zachary Sims, 46. Woman’s Hospital analyst. Married, 2 children.

How did you find out you had breast cancer?

I found the lump in my left breast, and at my yearly checkup I was told it was a cyst and to watch it … Several weeks later, my husband saw a past neighbor and learned his wife was having surgery for Stage 4 breast cancer. She was in her 30s and found her lump, just like I did. I prayed for her all weekend … On Monday, I made an appointment. We did an ultrasound and the mass showed up. The radiologist did a core needle biopsy.

What was your reaction?

I was shocked. I started to cry. I kept saying, “Why God? Why me?” All I could think was how was I going to tell my husband and my kids. I also thought what if I die. I want to see my kids grow up, graduate, get married and have kids.

What treatment methods did you undergo?

My type of breast cancer is found in the milk ducts. It was Stage 1 almost Stage 2. I had a lumpectomy and two lymph nodes removed for testing. It wasn’t in the lymph nodes, so I did not have to have a mastectomy. I had four chemotherapy treatments and took the injections to boost my white blood cells … I was really tired and lacked energy … I also had radiation treatments every day for 6½ weeks.

How has your illness affected your perspective on life?

It has made me more aware that we are not promised tomorrow … Also, put God first in everything. He allows us to go through things we sometimes don’t understand. I didn’t know then I would have to be there for my mom, who was diagnosed last August with breast cancer. God is bringing her through it, too.

Do you have any advice for others with breast cancer?

Have a positive attitude and a good outlook. Look at the big picture and envision yourself healed … Breast cancer is not a death sentence, it is beatable. Lots of prayer and faith and everything will be fine.