READ BOOK Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health - A Review of Dylan Joseph's Inspiring Novel
READ BOOK Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a friend who is battling a life-threatening disease? How would you cope with the fear, the pain, and the uncertainty? How would you show your support, your compassion, and your love? These are some of the questions that are explored in Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health, a touching and inspiring novel by Dylan Joseph.
READ BOOK Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health
Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health is a fictional account of a real-life experience that the author had when he was a teenager. Dylan Joseph was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 15 years old, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant that saved his life. He wrote this book as a tribute to his donor, who became his best friend during their time together at a campground in South Carolina.
The book tells the story of Dylan, a shy and lonely boy who feels out of place in his family and at school. He agrees to go on a camping trip with his mom, hoping to escape his problems for a while. There, he meets Sam, a cheerful and adventurous boy who loves nature and animals. They quickly bond over their shared interests and hobbies, and they spend their days exploring the woods, fishing, swimming, and having fun.
However, Sam has a secret that he hides from everyone. He has leukemia, a type of cancer that affects his blood cells. He needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, but he has not found a suitable donor yet. He decides to tell Dylan about his condition, trusting him with his life. Dylan is shocked and scared, but he also feels honored and grateful that Sam chose him as his confidant. He vows to do anything he can to help Sam, even if it means risking his own life.
The book is relevant and interesting for readers of all ages, especially those who have faced or are facing similar situations in their lives. It is a story of friendship, courage, hope, and health. It shows how two strangers can become brothers, how a simple act of kindness can make a difference, and how a positive attitude can overcome any obstacle.
Summary of the book
Chapter 1: The Camping Trip
The first chapter introduces the main characters and the setting of the story. Dylan is a 15-year-old boy who lives in New York with his mom, his stepdad, and his stepsister. He feels unhappy and lonely at home, as he does not get along with his new family. He also struggles at school, where he is bullied by his classmates and ignored by his teachers. He has no friends and no hobbies, except for reading books and playing video games.
His mom decides to take him on a camping trip to South Carolina, hoping to cheer him up and bond with him. Dylan is reluctant at first, but he agrees to go, thinking that it might be better than staying at home. They arrive at a campground called Camp Good Health, where they rent a cabin for a week. There, Dylan meets Sam, a 16-year-old boy who lives in the cabin next door with his dad.
Sam is the opposite of Dylan in many ways. He is outgoing, friendly, confident, and curious. He loves nature and animals, and he knows a lot about them. He enjoys fishing, swimming, hiking, and camping. He has a pet dog named Lucky, who follows him everywhere. He also has a lot of friends at the campground, who admire him and respect him.
Sam takes an interest in Dylan, and he invites him to join him in his activities. Dylan is hesitant at first, but he soon warms up to Sam's charm and enthusiasm. He finds himself having fun and learning new things with Sam. He also opens up to Sam about his problems and feelings, and he feels understood and accepted by Sam. They become close friends in a short time, and they promise to keep in touch after the camping trip.
However, Sam has a secret that he hides from everyone, including Dylan. He has leukemia, a type of cancer that affects his blood cells. He was diagnosed when he was 14 years old, and he has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments ever since. He needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, but he has not found a suitable donor yet. His dad is not a match, and neither are any of his relatives or friends.
Sam decides to tell Dylan about his condition on the last day of the camping trip, trusting him with his life. He explains what leukemia is, how it affects him, and what he needs to do to get better. He also tells him that he chose Camp Good Health as his last wish, because he wanted to enjoy nature and have fun before he dies. He asks Dylan not to tell anyone else about his secret, especially his dad.
Dylan is shocked and scared by Sam's revelation. He does not know how to react or what to say. He feels sorry for Sam, but he also feels angry and betrayed that Sam lied to him. He wonders why Sam chose him as his friend, and if their friendship was real or not. He also worries about Sam's future, and if he will ever see him again.
Chapter 2: The Hospital Visit
The second chapter follows the events that happen after the camping trip. Dylan returns to New York with his mom, but he cannot forget about Sam. He feels guilty and confused about their friendship, and he does not know what to do or how to help Sam. He tries to call Sam several times, but he does not answer or return his calls.
One day, he receives a letter from Sam's dad. The letter says that Sam is in the hospital in South Carolina, waiting for a bone marrow transplant. It also says that Sam asked for Dylan's phone number before he left the campground, but he lost it on the way to the hospital. It asks Dylan to call Sam as soon as possible.
Dylan calls Sam immediately, and they talk for a long time. Sam apologizes for not calling Dylan sooner, and he explains that he was too sick and weak to talk on the phone. He also thanks Dylan for being his friend, and he tells him that he misses him a lot. He says that he hopes to find a donor soon, so that he can get better and see Dylan again.
Dylan forgives Sam for lying to him, and he tells him that he still considers him as his best friend. He also says that he wants to help Sam in any way he can, and he asks him if there is anything he can do for him.
Sam hesitates for a moment, then he asks Dylan if he would be willing to be tested as a potential donor for him. He says that he knows it is a lot to ask, but he has no other options. He says that he understands if Dylan says no, but he hopes that he will say yes. Dylan is stunned by Sam's request. He does not know what a bone marrow transplant entails, or what the risks and benefits are. He asks Sam to explain more about the procedure and what it would mean for him. Sam tells Dylan that a bone marrow transplant is a procedure that infuses healthy blood-forming stem cells into his body to replace his damaged bone marrow. He says that stem cells can either be collected from the donor's blood or from their bone marrow. He says that he prefers the blood method, because it is less invasive and painful for the donor. He says that the donor has to undergo a series of tests to determine if they are a match for him. He says that the chances of finding a match are very low, especially for someone who is not related to him. He says that if Dylan agrees to be tested, he will have to give a small sample of his blood, which will be sent to a lab for analysis. He says that if Dylan is a match, he will have to go through another procedure called apheresis, which involves having a needle inserted into his arm and having his blood filtered through a machine that separates the stem cells from the rest of the blood. He says that this process takes several hours and may cause some side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and bruising. He says that after the stem cells are collected, they will be frozen and stored until they are ready to be transplanted into him. He says that he will have to undergo high-dose chemotherapy and radiation therapy to destroy his remaining bone marrow and make room for the new stem cells. He says that this part of the treatment is very harsh and can cause serious complications such as infections, bleeding, organ damage, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is when the donor's cells attack his body. He says that once he receives the stem cells, he will have to stay in the hospital for several weeks or months until his new bone marrow starts producing enough healthy blood cells. He says that he will need regular blood tests and transfusions to monitor his progress and prevent complications. He says that he will also need lifelong medications and follow-up care to prevent rejection and relapse. He says that a bone marrow transplant is his only hope of survival, but it is also very risky and uncertain. He says that there is no guarantee that it will work, or that he will not suffer from serious side effects or complications. He says that he is scared of dying, but he is also scared of living in pain and suffering. He tells Dylan that he does not want to pressure him or make him feel guilty. He says that he respects whatever decision Dylan makes, and he thanks him for being his friend. He says that he loves him like a brother, and he hopes that they will see each other again soon. Dylan listens to Sam's explanation with mixed emotions. He feels sad, angry, scared, and overwhelmed by Sam's situation. He also feels honored, touched, and hopeful by Sam's trust and love. He wonders what he should do, and what the consequences of his choice will be. He thinks about his life in New York, and how unhappy and lonely he was before he met Sam. He thinks about his mom, his stepdad, and his stepsister, and how they would react if he decided to become a donor for Sam. He thinks about his future plans and dreams, and how they would be affected by his decision. He also thinks about his life in South Carolina, and how happy and fulfilled he was with Sam. He thinks about their friendship, their adventures, their secrets, and their hopes. He thinks about how much Sam means to him, and how much he wants him to live. He realizes that he loves Sam like a brother, too. He decides that he is willing to be tested as a potential donor for him. He tells Sam that he will do it, and that he hopes that he is a match for him. Sam is overjoyed by Dylan's decision. He thanks him profusely, and he tells him that he is the best friend he ever had. He says that he is very lucky to have met him, and that he will never forget him. He says that he hopes that they will see each other again soon, too. Dylan and Sam make arrangements for Dylan to fly to South Carolina and get tested at the hospital where Sam is staying. They say goodbye to each other, and they promise to keep in touch until then. Chapter 3: The Recovery
The third chapter describes the outcome of the bone marrow transplant and the aftermath of the story. Dylan arrives at the hospital in South Carolina, where he meets Sam's dad and the medical team. He undergoes a series of tests to confirm if he is a match for Sam. He learns that he is indeed a match, and that he can proceed with the donation.
He signs a consent form, and he prepares for the apheresis procedure. He is nervous and scared, but he also feels excited and hopeful. He thinks about Sam, and how much he wants him to get better. He also thinks about his mom, who supported his decision and accompanied him on the trip.
He has a needle inserted into his arm, and he watches his blood flow through a tube into a machine that separates the stem cells from the rest of the blood. He feels some discomfort and dizziness, but he tolerates it well. He listens to music and reads a book to pass the time. The procedure takes about four hours.
After the procedure, he rests in a recovery room for a while. He feels tired and sore, but he also feels proud and happy. He has donated about 300 milliliters of stem cells, enough for Sam's transplant. He hopes that they will work.
He visits Sam in his room, where he sees him lying on a bed with tubes and wires attached to his body. He looks pale and weak, but he also looks happy to see Dylan. They hug each other, and they thank each other for being brave and generous. They talk for a while, and they joke about their hair loss and their matching scars.
They also talk about their future plans and dreams. They say that they want to go back to Camp Good Health someday, and relive their camping trip. They say that they want to travel the world together, and see new places and cultures. They say that they want to write a book together, based on their story.
The next day, Sam receives Dylan's stem cells through an intravenous infusion. The transplant goes smoothly, without any complications or reactions. Dylan watches from a window, holding his mom's hand and praying for Sam's recovery.
For the next few weeks, Dylan stays in South Carolina with his mom, visiting Sam every day at the hospital. They watch his progress closely, waiting for signs of engraftment, which is when the new stem cells start producing healthy blood cells in Sam's bone marrow.
They also face some challenges and setbacks along the way. Sam develops a fever and an infection, which require antibiotics and isolation. He also suffers from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and mouth sores. He also develops graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is when the donor's cells attack his body. He has to take steroids and other drugs to suppress his immune system and prevent further damage. Dylan stays by Sam's side, comforting him and encouraging him. He also helps him with his physical therapy and his medications. He reads books to him, plays games with him, and watches movies with him. He tries to make him laugh and smile, and to keep his spirits up. He also bonds with Sam's dad, who becomes like a second father to him. They share their worries and hopes for Sam, and they support each other. They also thank each other for their generosity and sacrifice. Gradually, Sam starts to show signs of improvement. His fever goes down, his infection clears up, and his GVHD gets better. His blood tests show that his new stem cells are engrafting and producing healthy blood cells. His hair starts to grow back, and his energy level increases. He is able to leave the hospital and move into a nearby apartment with his dad and Dylan. There, he continues his recovery and follow-up care. He has to wear a mask and gloves to protect himself from germs, and he has to avoid crowds and public places. He also has to take many pills every day to prevent rejection and relapse. But he also enjoys some normal activities, such as going for walks, eating out, and shopping. He celebrates his birthday with a cake and presents. He makes new friends with other transplant survivors. He even goes back to school online, and catches up with his studies. He keeps in touch with his friends from Camp Good Health, who send him cards and gifts. He also talks to his mom on the phone every day, who tells him how proud she is of him. He looks forward to seeing her again soon. He is especially happy to spend time with Dylan, who becomes his brother in every sense of the word. They share everything: their thoughts, their feelings, their dreams. They also share their DNA: they have the same blood type, the same tissue type, the same immune system. They are inseparable, and they love each other unconditionally. Analysis of the book
The main themes and messages of the book
The book explores several themes and messages that are relevant and meaningful for readers of all ages. Some of the main themes and messages are:
Friendship and loyalty: The book shows how friendship can be a powerful force that can overcome any obstacle. It also shows how loyalty can be a noble virtue that can inspire courage and generosity. Dylan and Sam demonstrate their friendship and loyalty by supporting each other through their hardships, by risking their lives for each other, and by staying true to each other.
Courage and hope: The book shows how courage can be a vital quality that can help face any challenge. It also shows how hope can be a vital emotion that can help endure any pain. Dylan and Sam demonstrate their courage and hope by facing their fears, by fighting their diseases, and by never giving up on their dreams.
Health and wellness: The book shows how health can be a precious gift that can be easily lost or taken for granted. It also shows how wellness can be a holistic concept that involves not only physical health but also mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Dylan and Sam demonstrate their health and wellness by taking care of their bodies, by healing their minds, by expressing their emotions, by connecting with their families and friends, and by finding meaning and purpose in their lives.
The strengths and weaknesses of the book
The book has many strengths and weaknesses that can appeal to different readers. Some of the strengths and weaknesses are:
The realistic and engaging characters and dialogue: The book creates believable and relatable characters that readers can empathize with and root for. Dylan and Sam are well-developed and complex protagonists, who have distinct personalities, backgrounds, and motivations. They also have a natural and authentic dialogue, that reflects their age, culture, and emotions.
The emotional and inspirational tone and plot: The book evokes a range of emotions in readers, from sadness and anger to joy and hope. It also inspires readers to appreciate life, to overcome challenges, to help others, and to pursue their dreams. The plot is fast-paced and suspenseful, keeping readers engaged and curious about the outcome.
The simple and clear language and style: The book uses simple and clear language and style that make it easy to read and understand. The book avoids unnecessary jargon or technical terms that might confuse or bore readers. The book also uses various literary devices, such as metaphors, similes, imagery, and symbolism, that enhance the meaning and beauty of the text.
The lack of depth and complexity in some aspects: The book might lack depth and complexity in some aspects that might disappoint or frustrate some readers. For example, the book might not explore enough the medical or scientific aspects of leukemia or bone marrow transplant, or the ethical or social implications of such a procedure. The book might also not address enough the psychological or emotional effects of such a life-changing experience on Dylan, Sam, or their families.
The predictable and clichéd ending: The book might have a predictable and clichéd ending that might undermine or diminish the impact or originality of the story. For example, the book might end with Dylan being a match for Sam, Sam surviving the transplant, and both of them living happily ever after. The book might also end with a moral or a lesson that might sound too obvious or preachy.
In conclusion, Sam's Story: It Was Good, Good for My Health is a touching and inspiring novel by Dylan Joseph that tells the story of his friendship with Sam, a boy who has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. The book explores several themes and messages that are relevant and meaningful for readers of all ages, such as friendship, courage, hope, health, wellness. The book also has many strengths and weaknesses that can appeal to different readers, such as the realistic and engaging characters and dialogue, the emotional and inspirational tone and plot, the simple and clear language and style, the lack of depth and complexity in some aspects, and the pre