About

Sarah Bigham lives in Maryland with her kind chemist wife, their three independent cats, and an unwieldy herb garden. In 2015, she began writing about her experiences and painting, using dissolved medications and supplements as watercolors. Her creative endeavors are a distraction from the pain of several recent diagnoses and have been the silver lining of her medical journey.

My internal world is quite a different landscape from the public persona I maintain. My current writing is influenced, in large part, by my experiences as a “healthcare consumer” with complex medical conditions that are not visible to those around me.
One of the chronic pain conditions I have is called Interstitial Cystitis or IC (also known as BPS or Bladder Pain Syndrome), something I had never heard of until my diagnosis. Many people with IC/BPS go to multiple doctors before finally having a name for their pain. Having IC/BPS is bad enough. Being demoralized by interactions with healthcare providers who are dismissive simply compounds the pain. I am grateful to now have a wonderful team of medical providers, but it took quite a while to assemble them.
My hope is that my work may inspire empathy and compassion for those living with chronic pain. Sometimes the deepest, most unbearable pain is the kind you cannot see.

Why S. G.?

 

My full name is Sarah Groves Bigham. My middle name is the maiden name of my paternal grandmother, Leonora Groves. She died many years before my birth, but I have been told I inherited her smile.

 

I share initials with my paternal great-grandfather, Samuel Gray Bigham, who went by “Gray.” For many years he ran a hardware store on East York Street in Biglerville, Pennsylvania and was one of the first people in town to have a radio. The store was known as S. G. Bigham's Hardware (see photo below) and, among other things, he sold Hudson and Studebaker automobiles. Gray also owned a farm outside of Biglerville, toward Heidlersburg, in an area known in the community as Chestnut Hill. Here, he raised steers, hogs, and fruit trees. (The family’s chickens were in the backyard.) Gray and his wife Jane Rutherford had four children: three girls and Franklin, the youngest.

 

Franklin, my grandfather, was an attorney in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for over 60 years and resided on West Broadway with his wife, Leonora, in the house where my father, Robert Gray Bigham, and his sister, Leonora Jane, grew up. I spent my childhood living two blocks away from Franklin, known to all his grandchildren as Daddy Frank.

 

Gray died in 1957, 15 years before I was born. While I never met him, we both seem to have had a wide variety of interests, and we share a moniker that I am proud to use in my artistic endeavors.