How Steve Became Ralph: A Cancer/Stem Cell Odyssey (With Jokes)

How Steve Became Ralph: A Cancer/Stem Cell Odyssey (With Jokes)

by Steve Buechler


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“Buechler transforms a devastating cancer diagnosis into a literary quest infused with intelligence, mindfulness, humor, and hope.”

—Carolyn Redman, Author of News From Lake Boobbegone

A moving, entertaining memoir written by someone who’s “been there and done that.”

Steve Buechler began telling his story within a week of his diagnosis with an email to his neighbors. Over the ensuing months, he composed over sixty such reports for an ever-expanding group of recipients. With the addition of a preface on lessons learned and an epilogue on identity changes, this compelling story documents and reflects upon his diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, including a detailed account of the stem cell transplant that saved his life.

The narrative blends contemporaneous reports, granular detail, generalizable lessons, existential reflections, wry humor shown in the jokes Steve adds, and a positive outcome. It demonstrates the value of telling our stories in the face of life-threatening illness, and it will appeal to all members of the cancer community as well as a broader reading audience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781733503426
Publisher: Written Dreams Publishing
Publication date: 12/28/2018
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Steve Buechler is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he attended UW-Milwaukee and financed his undergraduate education by playing the drums in a rock and roll band. After earning a couple of academic degrees, he had a thirty-one-year career at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he taught sociology. His favorite pastimes include cruising the Mediterranean and patronizing a local pool hall. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with his wife Susan Scott. One year before his retirement date, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and a double umbilical cord blood transplant. His academic website is or you can find him on Facebook @SteveBuechlerAuthor.

Table of Contents

Preface: Lessons Learned

The Odyssey: From Diagnosis and Treatment to Recovery and Survival 1. Induction Chemotherapy and Hospitalization

2. At Home: A Welcome Respite

3. The Hospital to Home Merry-go-Round

4. The Stem Cell Adventure

5. Home for Good

6. Coda

Epilogue: Fashioning New Identities

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How Steve Became Ralph: A Cancer/Stem Cell Odyssey (With Jokes) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buechler is a good writer, and this book is a fine memoir, not just medical "reportage." From the first moment of his diagnosis of leukemia until the successful stem cell replacement treatment that results in Steve's becoming Ralph, Buechler teaches the reader complex medical terms and processes in carefully translated, highly entertaining prose. Buechler's training as a sociologist seeps through all the way. One example: it would have to be a sociologist who notices that the only visitors to his hospital room who didn't return the folding chair to its corner once the bedside visit was completed, were the doctors! There's a generous helping of humor in the telling of this story. It is a very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At its heart, How Steve Became Ralph is the saga of one man’s encounter with acute myeloid leukemia, from a sudden, symptom-free diagnosis to a successful stem cell transplant, with all of the twists & turns and peaks & valleys that he confronts en route. It is the reader’s good fortune that Steve Buechler is a wonderfully articulate narrator of his own story. His brief essays, initially written to convey the complexities of this disease and its treatment to friends, depict serious, life-threatening matters. These detailed medical descriptions, however, are leavened by a droll sense of humor and erudite comments on the human condition, resulting in a sobering but ultimately optimistic story, entertainingly told. The author’s writing craftsmanship and professorial disposition are especially evident in the book’s opening and closing chapters, where he deftly places his personal story within larger frameworks of social, historical, and psychological understanding. How Steve Became Ralph is a wise, funny, and highly informative memoir, through which Steve and Ralph have much to tell us all.