WASHINGTON - The spokesman was uncharacteristically speechless.

"I'll try not to get choked up, so I'll go slow," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said yesterday at the podium after being gone for cancer treatment.

For a few emotional moments, he couldn't go at all, resorting instead to a thumbs-up sign of appreciation.

"I'm a very lucky guy," Snow said, referring to the support he has received since learning in March that his cancer had returned.

"I won't tell you how it's going to work out because I don't know," he told reporters. "But we obviously feel optimistic, and faith, hope and love are a big part of it all."

Doctors in March found a cancerous growth attached to Snow's liver. It was removed, and he will start a four-month chemotherapy regimen Friday. Snow said he plans to remain on the job during the treatment, taking time off when needed.

Snow, who had his colon removed in 2005 due to cancer, said he now has "some cancers" in the thin membrane lining his abdominal and pelvic cavities.

"The design is to throw it into remission and transform it into a chronic disease," he said.

"If cancer is merely a nuisance for a long period of time, that's fine with me."

After a few minutes' discussion his medical situation, Snow opened the morning briefing for questions on current issues, including when President Bush would veto the Iraq war funding measure - including troop withdrawal timetables - approved last week by Congress. *