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May 26, 2018 12:45AM
Hi, nolacancer, and welcome! Of course husbands are welcome, and good on you for helping your wife out by seeking information.
I agree that blood pressure on the thigh is painful. But I find it no problem at all on the lower calf. It is likely to run somewhat higher than it would on the upper arm, so it's important to take several readings over a week's time to establish a sort of baseline for her blood pressure. Then you'll know if it starts to change. The problem is that a lot of medical professionals have no clue how to take blood pressure anywhere but the arm, so some patience while they learn may be necessary. i've had good experience with our local fire department paramedics, who seem to be quite knowledgeable about leg blood pressure, maybe because being first responders they have to deal with unusual situations.
Some of the gals here use wrist cuffs, which seem to have less of an effect on the lymphedema for some women (though that's one of those very individual things).
But from your post I'm assuming your wife is not yet dealing with lymphedema--she's trying to avoid triggering it. Good for her! It can be a challenge because there will always be those medical folks who think there's no problem with using an at-risk arm for all sorts of nefarious purposes. That's been made worse recently by a very faulty study that purports to show that protecting the arm makes no difference. The thing to keep in mind is that these are her arms, not theirs, and she can make the calls she's comfortable with about how to protect them. Lymphedema is unfortunately for life.
All that said, some women don't want to fight that battle and try to choose for blood pressure the arm least likely to give them lymphedema trouble. Some people advise using the arm with the fewest number of nodes removed since it's theoretically less likely to develop lymphedema, but as a woman with bilateral lymphedema myself, my own advice would be to use the non-dominant arm, because it's much harder to deal with in the dominant arm.
I'm sure others will be along shortly with their own suggestions and experience. In the meantime, here's some information on reducing lymphedema risk on a compromised arm:
Hope some of that is helpful. Greet your wife for us and tell her, no offense, but we hope she never has to join our Swell Sisterhood!