Alison Habbal, 36, is cancer struck and as a result, a good portion of her hair has been lost, she lost her nipple and suffered extensive breast scarring in a lumpectomy.
But the idea of recreating a nipple through plastic surgery didn't appeal to her.
"I didn't want a fake nipple made from some other piece of flesh. I thought I'm just going to get a tattoo," she says.
"During the year I was sick I had the idea of me with the blonde crop and the tattoo. The whole time I was sick I would trawl tattoo artists over the internet," she says.
She then settled for a New Zealand-based artist named Makkala Rose, to create a bold and colourful intricate illustration on her nipple.
The tattoo was applied in Melbourne during a gruelling 13-hour session on 1 July this year. Alison, happy with the result, posted a photo of her design to Instagram and Facebook.
'Where the nipple at?'
It would be an overstatement to say that the picture "went viral" - it's not a meme like grumpy- but something about it is making people respond.
To date, more than 23,000 people have liked Alison's Instagram photo, which has been reposted on multiple tattoo-focused Instagram accounts.
"Because there's no nipple, I can blast it everywhere all over Facebook and Instagram, and they can't censor it, which I think is really funny," Alison says.
Alison's original post has been reblogged multiple times and accrued tens of thousands of likes on Instagram
Something about Alison's tattoo is generating more reaction than many other post-mastectomy tattoos. She thinks it's a combination of the tattoo's execution and the fact that she's smiling in the photo, adding a layer or emotion missing from breast-only shots.
"There are pages of collections, but mine tends to get more likes. Even on the one that went up yesterday, the page is full of hot models, and even to be on that page is an honour," she says.
Makkala Rose, the Hamilton-based tattooist, said Alison was an "absolute champion" for sitting through 13 hours of intense work on painful, sensitive areas - an experience her client called "blood-curdlingly horrific".
"Alison was pretty clear about the idea that she had and what she wanted it to look like, but she also gave me a bit of freedom," Ms Rose, 24, said to BBC.
"Tattooing a breast is quite different to tattooing a leg or a back or something. It's a bit challenging to design something that would fit and work around it.