I completely agree with you Lara.
I am a type 1, my mother was an extremely brittle and insulin sensitive diabetic, she died following a severe hypo at the age of 42. Unfortunately, she was not discovered in time and was left with severe brain damage and was left unable to breathe etc by herself. She died slowly over the course of a week after life support was switched off, it devastated both myself and my sister, we were still in our teens at the time.
An important point though, what constitutes normal? The majority of my peers don't have diabetes but I wouldn't consider their lives any more or less normal than mine ha ;)
Diabetes is an horrendous disease, yes a positive approach and sunny disposition help, as does taking responsibility, educating yourself and managing it the best you can. The deeper your understanding of the illness is and the more experience you have of it the easier it gets, but it still a tiring, difficult disease, that offers no respite.
Looking at today for example, I have been out with friends most of the day, off road biking, catching a music gig and going for out for a classic English breakfast. A pretty "normal"day to an outsider, but as part of that "normal" day. I have had to do two infusion site changes (blocked cannula), I have pricked my bruised finger tips eleven times, I have had to carb carb count, make sensible choices with food, ignoring the urge to go for 110g carb of burger and chips etc etc, declined alcohol and so on..
I started a fast at 1pm as I am assessing my basal profiles at the moment and then had a hypo whilst trying to get jiggy with my girlfriend, so no in a very real sense I don't think my life will ever be normal ha. I believe diabetes will shorten my life expetency and that I will eventually die of its complications, it's a long term degenerative, chronic illness that negatively impacts upon every organ in the body. I accepted that a long time ago and I endeavour to minimise the risks through tight control and taking a positive attitude. I am a realist and I think denial and over optimism can be a dangerous thing.
Focusing on the positives, I live a healthier lifestyle with diabetes than I would without it. I don't smoke (probably would have if I wasn't diabetic), I don't do recreational drugs (probably would do socially if I wasn't diabetic) I eat a healthy, balanced diet (definitely wouldn't have such a focus on it if I wasn't diabetic) I exercise regularly (again I wouldn't do this so much if I wasn't diabetic)
It's like anything in life, you make the best of the hand you have been doubt. Diabetes is no fun, but it could be a hell of alot worse. When I was diagnosed at the age of 12, my endo took me round the children's cancer ward and let me talk to the children there who were dying...
I have a friend with Crones disease with half a stomach who has had a colostomy bag for most of his life, I have another friend in a wheelchair who had his spinal cord severed in an accident. Life be a *itch, but we adapt, grow and on we go..