I have never been a candidate for transplant as my labs have always been fairly good, even when I had liver cancer. I have never been in liver failure. However, the surgeon told me that if the cancer came back in the remaining left lobe, I would need a transplant. Conversely, my hepatologist said that they would catch it early enough to be able to eradicate it surgically or by other means. I have blood work and a scan done every 3-4 months.
I'm sorry, I can't answer your question about bilirubin. While mine is a little elevated, it's never been really high. In fact, none of my labs has been off the charts, so lab work doesn't really tell the whole story with me.
Since Mayo Rochester is the original one, they are still first with new treatments, etc. I had TheraSphere treatment for my cancer, which had never previously been done at Mayo Jax, but had been in use at Mayo Rochester for a couple of years. So you are in good hands. When you see the doctors there, they will have you undergo a lot of tests, even if you've had them previously elsewhere. Be sure to take a list of questions with you to ask them. That's one thing I truly love about Mayo docs: They never rush me and always give me as much time as needed to go over test results, their treatment plan, my questions, etc.
The way that transplant is handled now, where the MELD score counts for so much, a person generally has to be within 5 days of death before a transplant will be done. With the large demand for livers and the short supply of them, they have to go to people who are literally at death's door.