Josephine “Anne” Causey didn’t waste any time after she discovered a lump 17 years ago. She was diagnosed with breast cancer early in Jan. 2001 and was undergoing a mastectomy by Jan. 15.

Causey could never have predicted that throughout her experience with breast cancer, she would have a spiritual awakening. But that is exactly what happened. “It was the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever experienced,” Causey said of the moment when her pastor, Larry Maxwell, and his wife, Virginia, first prayed with her.

The Maxwells prayed that Causey’s cancer would be contained and not spread. “They both laid hands on me. It’s hard to explain to people what it’s like to have the Holy Spirit touch your body,” said Causey. “It was without a doubt the most wonderful thing I’ve ever been through."

Causey believes that her healing was due to the work of Dr. Guru Ghanta, surgeon at Byrd Regional Hospital, and to the Holy Spirit.

Following her mastectomy, Causey entered into a clinical trial. Once a year, she reports so they can check on her “general well-being,” she said.

The clinical trial was eight treatments, instead of six with standard treatment. After surgery, she received treatment at  Beauregard Memorial Hospital. She went in once every three weeks, three times, from 9 a.m. Friday until 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The next four treatments began at 9 a.m. Wednesday and lasted until Saturday. “For three-and-a-half days they would administer the last four doses of chemo.” She has been cancer-free since then.

Through treatments and recovery, Causey said she doesn’t remember feeling depressed or down. “I took all sorts of things to hospital to do. It didn’t hurt. I brought a TV, I knitted and crocheted, visited patients on the floor, put on makeup. I had bought about six different wigs,” said said. “I had fun with it. God had healed me so I was going to be fun.”

Causey felt fortunate because it seemed like everybody in Leesville was praying for her, she said.

At the time, Causey worked for Sabine State Bank. “They were wonderful,” she said. “Anytime I needed to take off, they were supportive.  The president lost his wife to breast cancer and he said ‘we are not going to let this beat you.’”

As a result of the chemo, Causey has numbness in her feet, and her sense of smell isn’t very strong. “But those are things you can live with,” she said. Her circulation is an issue sometimes, for which she gets massages. “I stay busy and worked all through chemo,” she said.

“If I can pass anything on to cancer patients, don’t let it rob you of your joy,” said Causey. “Stay busy, positive, and fun. The Golden Girls always made me laugh-- the laughing is healing.”

Causey will be 76-years-old on Nov. 1. She has been involved with the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce since 2003. After gradually moving up in the ranks, she became executive director in 2011.

Originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Causey has lived in the same home in Leesville for 40 years. She intends to stay there for awhile longer. She has a son and a daughter, as well as two granddaughters.

“Life becomes sweeter, more beautiful. You learn not to get all upset over trivial stuff that doesn’t matter,” Causey said. “Life has been so good to me."