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Written Dreams Publishing

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

120 - print
In stock
Product Details

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


Hardcover IBSN: 978-1-7335034-1-9, $21.99, 6 x 9
Paperpack IBSN: 978-1-7335034-2-6, $13.99, 5 x 8
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-7335034-3-3, $4.99
Page count: 232 pages
Category: Cancer Memoir


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 account documents and reflects upon his diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, including a detailed account of the stem cell transplant that saved his life.

Steve Buechler's narrative blends contemporaneous reports, granular detail, generalizable lessons, existential reflections, wry humor, an upbeat tone, a secular voice, and a positive outcome. The result is a moving, entertaining memoir written by someone who’s “been there and done that.” 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 the broader reading public.


“How Steve Became Ralph is an odyssey in every sense of the word. 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 thoughtful encouraging expression of one man’s odyssey beyond a diagnosis of leukemia. This is a courageous plowing-through months of testing and treatment supported by family, friends and health care providers. Punctuated by personal insights and small quips of humor, Steve Buechler delves into his physical, psycho-social and spiritual processes as he works with the health care community and a cord blood transplant. A good read for a health care provider, patient, or caregiver.”—Roxana Huebscher, PhD, RN, NP and Professor Emeritus, UW Oshkosh

“Steve Buechler’s How Steve Became Ralph is an unusual cancer memoir as it's not about death and dying rather about living and thriving. The book is filled with life lessons injected with ample doses of the author's quirky sense of humor. A compelling read!”—Simi K. Rao, Physician and Author

“Steve (or now Ralph) reminds us, healthy or ill, that life, with all its challenges, is worth living. It shows us the importance of seeing the glass half full rather than half empty, the necessity of setting real priorities in our lives and that keeping an open mind for all the goodness that our journey can offer, even in trying situations, can be ultimately rewarding to ourselves and others around us. It also underscores that patients have a major role in their healing process, which cannot be merely passive. More importantly, love from our family members and our friends, and even from our health care providers (and ourselves) can achieve the best possible results. Good reading to re-set perspectives and to help appreciate and treasure our lives, one day at a time.”—Gina Cunto-Amesty, Physician

"Written in the easy style of emails, “How Steve Became Ralph” is an interesting odyssey through a life-saving medical procedure." — Mary Ann Grossmann, writer for the Twin Cities' Pioneer Press

"Right from the whimsical title and subtitle, you get a sense that this is going to be a different type of cancer memoir. And Steve Buechler delivers. This is not a story about a raging battle against the evil enemy cancer; instead Buechler calmly frames his disease as 'just a biological process originating from within the body that simply is what it is and does what it does.' Overall, the book is an amazing testament to the therapeutic power of humor, and in its calm, thoughtful way, is gripping, revealing, and profoundly inspirational." — Peter Gordon, Author of Six Years and Counting: Love, Leukemia, and the Long Road Onward.


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.

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