Advice re. bilateral lymphodema and blood tests?

This is a quiet part of the forum, but wondering if anyone has any good experiences to relate re. Blood tests? 


I had a rotten experience yesterday when I could not have blood tests at my local hospital because no procedures or protocols were in place for me to have blood taken from one of my feet. The phlebtomists said it was deemed an infection risk and sent me up to the clinic who had ordered the tests to get a doctor to do it. They wouldn’t do it.


I took it on myself to go to my GP surgery where one of the nurses is able to do this for me but she said she is leaving in August when there will be no-one trained to do this. I need blood tests several times a year so I need to sort this but am at a bit of a loss about what to do.


I’m posting this as I think there is another lady with bilateral lymphodema who posts occasionally, or in case anyone can suggest anything?


Many thanks, Rattles x

Hi Rattles, 


Sorry to hear about your bi-lateral lymphodema, which I also have. I also asked for a thyroid test from my foot at the local surgery but came up against this issue too. They advised me to go to the hospital blood clinic. I was planning that, but then had to have a blood test in A and E following chest pains (turned out to be a panic attack) which was taken from my right arm in the end, fortunately, with no ill effects. I’ve also since had a bone scan where the nuclear injection went into that arm too and it was fine. However, my situation is unusual in that I still have all my lymph nodes in my right arm, and the lymphodema in that side was most likely caused by a badly inserted PICC line 6 years ago. My left side lymphodema (cancer side) started after a wasp sting 6 months ago. 


Given that you need regular blood tests I would suggest the hospital blood clinic as if you have had lymph nodes removed from both sides, it is too much of a risk for you to have blood taken from your arm. 


Sorry to waffle, but hope I have helped a little…do you mind me asking how you have lymhodema in both arms? We are so unlucky…


Liz x

Hi there,


I’m sorry you have bilateral lymphodema too, though its nice to know its not just me. My issue is the other way round as the hospital can’t do the blood test, but the GP can. 


My understanding is that in an emergency they would use an arm anyway, but I object to this for just a routine test. At the Marsden, they are so good, the even use my foot for any MRI/CT scans.


I’ve had breast cancer twice and each time it had spread to the lymph nodes. The one arm has lymphodema in the hand and lower arm. The other is in the upper arm where I too had a PICC line.


Keep in touch and thanks for your help. Will let you know how I get on.


Rattles, x