A bit of a rant...the following is my own personal opinion.
My entire life I have been told by friends, family, and even doctors that I can "live a normal life". That is a very loose term if you look at it from the point of view of a diabetic. What the hell do you mean by a "normal" life?
I don't see "normal" people having to check their blood sugar a minimum of four times a day. I don't see "normal" people having to take six shots a day. I don't see "normal" people having to severely restrict their diet in order to avoid high blood sugar, serious complications, and death. I don't see "normal" people suffering severe lows or highs and the frightening effects they bring with them.
So, no, a diabetic can not live a normal life.
If you're talking about normal as in I can grow up to be whatever I want...that's not even true...a diabetic can not grow up to be a non-diabetic. That was my dream, "when I grow up I want to not have diabetes anymore". I also wanted to join the army/navy/air force/marines but they wouldn't take me because I was diabetic. Not even for a desk job.
If I had only been told the truth as a child....
When I was younger I struggled with feelings of being different, of being not normal. So of course the adults around me comforted me by saying I could still grow up and live a perfectly normal life as long as I took my shots and checked my blood sugar and kept it in line. I could eat like a normal person as long as I bolused properly.
I don't know ANY diabetic that this works for! Taking huge amounts of insulin in order to be able to eat "normally" is just killing us all. We can't eat like "normal" people, we must live by a different diet.
If I had been told the truth instead of having my future made to seem less "not normal". I think I would have had an easier time of it. Instead I became an adult and the harsh reality of never being "normal" hit me like a ton of bricks and sent me into a deep spiral of depression and anger. And any hope of me actually trying to take proper care of myself flew out the window and it took nearly dieing of heart failure at 34 years old to send me crashing into the realization that I need to change my life and stop trying to be something I can never be.
It is true that a diabetic can be happy, fulfilled, and live a long, healthy life. But I wish doctors, other diabetics, organizations, etc., would stop sugar-coating it. We are bombarded with the idea that we can just go about our lives as if nothing is different for us. So many diabetics I know (including myself until recently) are so dead set on being "normal" and especially with being able to eat "normally" that we are just pushing ourselves into an early grave preceded by years of diabetic complications. It doesn't help that there is so much misinformation out there about what is "healthy" for a diabetic; but I won't go into that highly controversial end of this subject.
If you truly want to be a healthy diabetic and avoid complications of diabetes then you need to face the fact that you need to be on top of your diet, medication, glucose monitoring, and all other aspects of care, ALL THE TIME. No breaks, no vacations.
Face the fact that we shouldn't eat like "normal" people. Our bodies are different, our condition requires us to live differently. This doesn't make us less human. Diabetes is not easy to control and the fact that we are not normal people means it is not logical to insist on living like "normal" people. We can be healthy and happy just like anyone, but we have to face the fact that we must do certain things differently. This doesn't diminish us or our lives or happiness, we just need to do things with more thought and care (and work) than other people.
So there is no living like a "normal" person. Normal for us is diabetic.