Back in the shark tank: ‘Lucky’ Snow returns to brief White House press
White House spokesman Tony Snow on April 30 made an emotional return to work, just five weeks after leaving his post for surgery that revealed a return of his colon cancer.
“I’m a very lucky guy,” said Mr. Snow,whohadtopauseforseveralseconds to compose himself in his first briefing to the White House press corps since March 23.
Mr. Snow, 51, said he would begin four months of biweekly chemotherapyonMay4totreat“somesmallcancers in the peritoneum,” which is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. But he credited world-class medical care and the thoughts and prayers of friends and strangers for giving him hope.
“I have been blessed to be treated by [. . . ] some of the finest doctors in theworld,”saidMr.Snow,whoisahusband and father of three children. “In an age like ours, things are happening very rapidly in the medical realm. I’m taking a cancer cocktail this time around, a chemo cocktail that’s going to contain two agents that were not in broad use two years ago.”
“The design is to throw it into remissionandtransformitintoachronic disease. If cancer is merely a nuisance for a long period of time, that’s fine with me,” Mr. Snow said.
Healsoadded:“Anybodywhodoes not believe that thoughts and prayers makeadifference,they’rejustwrong.”
Mr. Snow first underwent surgery for colon cancer in 2005, when he was a radio talk-show host on Fox News Radio. Doctors removed portions of his colon, and Mr. Snow returned to work while still undergoing chemotherapy. Then, after a series of tests last fall showed a small growth in his abdomen, Mr. Snow underwent surgery on March 26 that showed his cancer had returned and had spread to his liver. Deputy White House spokeswoman Dana Perino filled in forMr.Snowinhisabsence,whichwas expected by many to last longer than just a month.
Mr. Snow’s warm welcome lasted onlyafewminutes,however,ashewas immediately hit with questions about the current debate over whether the U.S. is winning or losing the war in Iraq, about a Washington, D.C. sex scandalthathasalreadybroughtdown a deputy secretary of state, and about criticisms of the administration by former CIA Director George J. Tenet.
But Mr. Snow also showed he was still in zinger mode, teasing a reporter for asking a “follow-up on the question I didn’t answer.”